EVEN expected events can come as a bit of a shock. It had seemed clear for some time that Tommy Seymour was on the verge of bowing out from professional rugby, but when he confirmed as much on Wednesday, it still brought with it a real sense of loss - not only to supporters of Glasgow and Scotland, but to anyone who has seen how much the 32-year-old has contributed to the game in this country since making his Warriors debut a decade ago.

Seymour was a key player in the Glasgow side from that first appearance back in 2011, through to their PRO12 title triumph four years later, and on to their reappearance in the final in 2019. He was also a vital member of the Scotland team from 2013 until his retirement from the international game following the last World Cup, ending up with 55 caps, and his consistent excellence was recognised by his being named in the British & Irish Lions squad that toured New Zealand in 2017.  

His 150th and final appearance in a Warriors jersey was in the Champions Cup defeat by Exeter in December. Injuries have restricted his opportunities this season, hence the general awareness that his retirement was on the cards.

“Although my decision has been made for some time, the words seem almost impossible to write,” Seymour wrote on the Warriors website. “Firstly, to the club that made a home and wove me into its tapestry. Thank you for believing in me and for having faith when you had no reason to. This is my club, this is my home and I’ll never forget what it was to live and play here.

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“To the fans that support this club so passionately, it was the greatest privilege to stand behind that badge and represent you in this beautiful game.

“To the physios, S&C and office staff I’ve been so fortunate to work with over my years, your help and presence in my career will never be forgotten. I can’t thank you enough and it was a pleasure to have dealt with you all.

“Lastly and most importantly to my wife Katy and my beautiful kids. You’ve been the backbone that held everything together. I wouldn’t have achieved and had this career without your love and support. The moments were made special because you were there to share them. I’m so proud to be your husband and father.”

Born in Nashville, Tennessee, Seymour moved to Belfast as a boy, and was capped by Ireland at youth level. However, he was eligible to represent Scotland thanks to his mother being from Glasgow, and it was clear he was going to go down that route from the time he joined the Warriors from Ulster in the summer of 2011.

By that time the steady improvement that was to culminate in the title win four years later was already under way, and if anything it accelerated the following summer when Gregor Townsend succeeded Sean Lineen as head coach. Exuberant figures such as Finn Russell and Leone Nakarawa may have come to epitomise that Warriors side, but it owed its success just as much to the solid professionalism of less demonstrative types such as Seymour.

Of the winger’s team-mates from the 2015 final victory in Belfast over Munster, Nakarawa, Pete Horne, Fraser Brown and Rob Harley are still Glasgow players, while Al Kellock, the captain then, is now the Warriors’ managing director. “I’ve known Tommy for almost 10 years,” Kellock said. “He’s an incredible rugby player, but more importantly a great man.

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“He has put a huge amount of himself into this club and has helped enormously on the journey we have gone through. He has led by example both on and off the field and is an example to every young player coming through because you won’t see anyone working harder on their game than Tommy Seymour.

“I’d like to thank Tommy and his wife Katy on behalf of everyone associated with Glasgow Warriors for all that they have given.”

Current Glasgow coach Danny Wilson has not been able to work with Seymour as much as he would have liked during his first season in charge at Scotstoun, but he is still well aware of how important the player has been to the team over the past decade.

“Having made over 150 appearances for Glasgow in 10 years at the club, representing his country and playing for the British and Irish Lions, Tommy has achieved a huge amount in the game,” Wilson said. “He will be missed and his achievements within the game should be celebrated. He’s a well respected leader here at Glasgow and has done a lot for both club and country.

“It’s a shame he hasn’t been available to us for more games this season, however, he has worked day in day out to ensure the team taking the field are fully prepared. He has been a fantastic servant to the club and we wish him all the best for the future.”