Kilted Kiwi Sean Maitland recalled to Scotland’s Six Nations rugby squad

Scotland's Kiwi fullback Sean Maitland in his last test against Italy in March 2021. He has been recalled to Scotland's Six Nations training camp.

Scott Heppell/AP

Scotland’s Kiwi fullback Sean Maitland in his last test against Italy in March 2021. He has been recalled to Scotland’s Six Nations training camp.

Former Crusaders wing Sean Maitland has been recalled to Scotland’s Six Nations training camp to cover for an ill British and Irish Lion.

The 33-year-old – first capped nine years ago – was initially omitted from Gregor Townsend’s 39-man training group after 15 tries in 53 tests.

But Maitland, who plays for English club Saracens, has been called up with Worcester’s Lions wing Duhan van der Merwe and London Irish wing Kyle Rowe both ill.

Maitland, who has Scottish grandparents, made his Scotland debut against England in 2013, the year after joining Glasgow Warriors from the Crusaders.

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Former Crusaders winger Sean Maitland dotted down in 2018 against France.

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One of the most decorated New Zealand rugby exports to Europe, his last test appearance came against Italy in the 2021 Six Nations.

Townsend was forced to drop the veteran Kiwi for last year’s Six Nations decider in Paris due to a player release quota agreed with English clubs.

The match was rescheduled after an earlier postponement, meaning it fell outside the international window, requiring Scotland to negotiate with English Premiership clubs over the release of key players.

Maitland was recalled to Scotland’s 2021 Six Nations squad after he was dropped in October 20 for a breach of Covid-19 protocols. He was among the large group of Barbarians players who left their team hotel to go to a restaurant and pub without the permission of the organizers last week, a violation that saw their match against England at Twickenham cancelled.

Sean Maitland skips past some England defenders in a 2021 Six Nations clash.

David Rogers/Getty Images

Sean Maitland skips past some England defenders in a 2021 Six Nations clash.

Maitland was not recalled for Scotland’s three November internationals against Australia, South Africa and Japan.

The Tokoroa-born cousin of Wallabies star Quade Cooper is the same age as Ben Smith was at the 2019 Rugby World Cup where he became the All Blacks’ oldest-ever wing.

But he is a year younger than current Ireland wing Keith Earls, 34.

A former New Zealand under-20 and Māori All Blacks representative, Maitland has won domestic titles in New Zealand with Canterbury and the Crusaders and in England with Saracens, as well as scoring a try in the London club’s European Champions Cup final victory in 2019.

He was called up by the British and Irish Lions as an injury replacement for their 2013 tour to Australia and played for Scotland at the 2015 and 2019 Rugby World Cup tournaments.

Maitland stayed loyal to Saracens after they were relegated to England’s second tier for repeated salary breaches, helping them win promotion to the Premier League at the first attempt.

His latest two-year contract is set to expire at the end of the 2022 season.

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