SCOTLAND have tasked Scott Johnson and Sean Lineen to scour the world and unearth new Scottish talent, but judging by the latest round of debutants selected for Test duty the programme is already working.
• In the latest South Africa tour video, Glasgow hooker Fraser Brown and Glasgow prop Gordon Reid talk about their call-ups to the South Africa tour
While last week four of Scotland’s six debutants against Samoa – Alex Dunbar, Pat MacArthur, Peter Horne and Stevie Lawrie – were products of the Scottish system, the trio of Glasgow Warriors players named in the starting line-up to face the Springboks tomorrow have enjoyed circuitous routes to the Scotland jersey.
None can outdo Tommy Seymour, who takes over this week from the Dutch-reared Tim Visser as Johnson seeks to enhance the competition for wing berths while Kiwi Sean Maitland is with the British and Irish Lions.
Seymour was born in Nashville and raised in Tennessee, Dubai and Belfast, and admits his early dreams never involved playing for Scotland against the Boks. “Growing up in the US and Dubai, rugby wasn’t a well-known sport,” he said, “so I played everything else that I could.
“Moving to Northern Ireland brought rugby into my life, and when I started to pick it up I hugely enjoyed it, but never would I have dreamed that I’d have ended up here with the opportunity to play for Scotland.”
Seymour qualifies for Scotland through his Scots-born mother Susan.
Scotland caps were not in the thoughts of Peter Murchie either when he left the Bath academy for London Welsh, but a move to Glasgow provided an opportunity and over the past 18 months he has been one of the most consistent performers in Scotland. He spoke yesterday of a surprisingly large following of Scots in his home village of Fontmell Magna in Dorset likely to join his father Finlay, who hails from Ayrshire, and mother Louise around a television tomorrow. There is rugby pedigree in his family, his father’s cousin Ian having played centre against Argentina on the infamous 1969 tour.
Murchie warmed the bench against the Springboks last year without being called upon, but he was told by Johnson before coming out here that he would play against South Africa this time. He said: “It is a huge honour and Scott telling me gave me that ‘I’m going to play’ moment, so I knew I had a week or so to knuckle down and really work hard.”
The third Warrior preparing for his Test bow is Tim Swinson, whose career has taken him from Oundle School to the Australian Grand Final with Sydney University, from university in Newcastle to a call to the Falcons, and then a move to Glasgow last summer.
Johnson has wound up Swinson by claiming he is an atypical independent schoolboy, in that he knows how to play rugby yet has a “big chip on his shoulder”. But what grabbed Johnson’s attention was Swinson’s ability to hit hard.
“I’ve had plenty jokes about my upbringing and the way I play,” Swinson said. “It was the way I was taught to play by my school coach at Oundle [former England hooker John Olver], and it’s something that seems to have worked well for me during my professional career.”
SCOTLAND TEAM TO FACE SOUTH AFRICA
15-Peter Murchie, 14-Tommy Seymour, 13-Alex Dunbar, 12-Matt Scott, 11-Sean Lamont, 10-Ruaridh Jackson, 9-Greig Laidlaw, 8-Johnnie Beattie, 7-Ryan Wilson, 6-Alasdair Strokosch, 5-Jim Hamilton, 4-Tim Swinson, 3-Euan Murray, 2-Scott Lawson, 1-Alasdair Dickinson
Replacements: 16-Stevie Lawrie, 17-Jon Welsh, 18-Moray Low, 19-Alastair Kellock, 20-David Denton, 21-Henry Pyrgos, 22-Peter Horne, 23-Duncan Taylor
SCOTLAND SOUTH AFRICA TOUR VIDEOS