It was all rather esoteric in the Scotstoun press room yesterday as Tim Swinson was encouraged to explain how he is seeking to expand his mind while developing his rugby career, writes Kevin Ferrie.

The 25-year-old Glasgow Warrior, who is related to Jo Swinson, Parliamentary under secretary of state for employment relations and postal affairs, albeit he is rather vague about it – "I'm some sort of cousin on my dad's side" – is himself a student of politics who is just about to undertake his Masters of Philosophy.

Since he finds "British politics a bit boring" his theme will be American elections, and at least one word of his explanation of why seemed relevant to his chosen profession.

Loading article content

"If you're a European looking at American politics you think it's barbaric and very strange and different," he said. "It is, but that's because of what the elections are fought on. I think the rest of the world had a huge sigh of relief for who won, but it's interesting looking at the campaign and that's what my M.Phil is going to be about, particularly looking at elections and democracy in America and why people vote the way they do and what makes them vote the way they do.

Cheap jibes about his interest serving as useful in the world of Scottish rugby aside, it all seems a decent way of switching off from the pressures of professional rugby and Swinson indicated that the opportunity to continue his studies is a factor in convincing him he has come to the right place in leaving Newcastle Falcons to join Glasgow Warriors.

"I think it's good to have something away from rugby to focus on that can improve you outside of rugby," he said. "It doesn't happen as much in rugby now with younger players. Definitely since I started playing I've seen a decline in people going to university as young professionals, although that's something that's different up here."

That could, of course, be interpreted by some as suggesting that Scottish players are not as focused on the game as those south of the border, but Swinson's combativeness when challenged on Glasgow's situation as they bid to somehow revive their Heineken Cup challenge, counters that.

"It's not over yet," he said. "We'll see how we get on on Friday night. A good victory against Castres and then we'll see from there."

As for the fact that no team has ever recovered from losing their first two matches in the Heineken Cup, let alone failing to register so much as a bonus point, to reach the quarter-finals, he identified an opportunity more than an obstacle.

"That's a point to be proven wrong rather than to agree with," he observed. "If (accepting that) that was the case for everything, then there's a lot of things that wouldn't have happened for the first time."

Which would seem an exceedingly sound philosophy for one facing any sort of adversity.