Tommy Seymour concedes that his 19-month Scotland try drought, which he broke in spectacular style with Saturday’s hat-trick against Fiji, had been weighing on his shoulders.
After a spell when the Glasgow wing seemed to score every time he pulled on the national jersey, the 30-year-old hadn’t managed to get over the line since the match at home to Italy in the 2017 Six Nations.
Outdoing even London buses, three came along in the one game and it was a delighted Seymour who spoke to the media afterwards.
“I hadn’t scored for a while for Scotland. Although you try not to focus on it, it’s something that I was looking forward to doing again,” he said.
“I’m delighted to score again and just pleased for the boys that we were able to put away a really dangerous Fiji side who could have caused us a lot of problems. I’m over the moon.”
It may not be quite to the same extent as strikers in football, but wingers do thrive on tries and Seymour admitted the longer his drought went on, the more his place in the team may have come under threat.
“Of course. I feel a lot of pressure, even on a regional level with Glasgow. The same applies to Scotland,” he said.
“There’s a huge depth of talent coming through, particularly in the back three. Blair Kinghorn, Darcy Graham, Lee Jones – there’s a plethora of guys who are more than capable of being first-string players.
“Blair and Darcy are still so young but, already, have shown so much talent. I’m always conscious of the fact that I’m guaranteed nothing – and I’m sure Gregor would tell me as much, as well.
“I love playing in the Scotland jersey, so I don’t take it for granted at all. I want to do everything I can to stay in it as long as I can.”
While the drought may have been a frustration, it pales in comparison to the difficulties Seymour said he faced in what has been a testing couple of years personally.
“Since this time last year, roughly around the autumn, there have been a couple of things that have gone on that have made it quite a challenging year for me,” he explained. “I’m not wanting to talk about them. But, after having a good pre-season with Glasgow and getting back involved with the national side, it’s been great.”
The hat-trick saw Seymour leap from 16 to 19 tries, two ahead of greats like his boss Townsend, Gavin Hastings and Alan Tait, not to mention one ahead of his mate Stuart Hogg, who he replaces in fourth place in the all-time Scotland try scorers list.
“He mentioned it in the changing room afterwards – that’s a bonus! Brilliant,” said Seymour with a broad grin.
“It’s always nice getting one over on Hoggy because it’s probably the only one I’ve got. I’m delighted. It just adds fuel to the competition between the two of us. He’s got a few years on me, so I’m guessing he might be able to outdo me over the long run.
“Under Vern [Cotter] and now Gregor, we’re playing a style that allows the backs – and also the forwards – to get their hands on the ball and score tries.
“We love doing it. Some of the guys have been scoring a lot.
“Shuggie [Huw Jones] has scored a ridiculous amount in not that many games – ten in 17 games.
“Hoggy is also right up there. It does create competition between us, but not in a bad way.
“I don’t think anyone is being selfish about it.
“It’s just about spreading the love and, fingers crossed, I can get a bit more love before I finish.”