Scotland rugby coach defends 'Kiwi' Maitland call-up
- Published: 23/01/2013 at 10:45 PM
- Online news:
Interim Scotland coach Scott Johnson insisted Wednesday there was "no tokenism" about the inclusion of New Zealand-born wing Sean Maitland in his squad for the forthcoming Six Nations Championship.
Scotland's interim rugby coach Scott Johnson at the official launch of the 2013 Six Nations tournament at the Hurlingham Club in London, on January 23, 2013. Johnson has insisted there was "no tokenism" about the inclusion of New Zealand-born wing Sean Maitland in his squad for the forthcoming Six Nations Championship.
Maitland, who played for both the Maori All Blacks and the New Zealand Under-20s, arrived in Scotland in October after signing a three-year contract with Glasgow.
The 24-year-old has now scored one try in five starts for Glasgow since making his debut in December.
Johnson, speaking at the Six Nations launch in London, defended Maitland's Scottish heritage by saying: "When I spoke to his dad, he was standing in his kilt in New Zealand.
"Everyone thinks it's the grandfather rule that Sean comes under.
"Sean's father is Scottish and he has great pride in being a Scotsman. Sean used to be woken up as a kid to watch Scotland in the Five Nations, as it was.
"This kid is of proud Scottish heritage. This is not tokenism and he would be offended if anyone questioned that and so would his dad and his grandparents as well.
"He is a real proud Scotsman and he is there for the right reasons and that is why we value him as a member of this team."
Maitland will become the latest so-called "kilted Kiwi" following the likes of Sean Lineen and the Leslie brothers, John and Martin, if he makes his Scotland debut in their Six Nations opener away to England on February 2.
Scotland have not won at Twickenham since 1983 but Australian coach Johnson, appointed on a caretaker boss after Englishman Andy Robinson resigned as Scotland boss following the shock loss to Tonga in Aberdeen in November, said that record was of no concern to him.
"That is news to me. A lot of these players probably haven't been there before. We have to create our own history and disregard what has occurred in the past," Johnson said.
"We are the poor little boys on the block and we are happy to go in as the poor little boys on the block," Johnson, who previously had a spell as caretaker Wales coach, added.
"But rest assured, come game time we may not be a poor little boy."
England's last match saw them beat world champions New Zealand 38-21 at Twickenham in December and they will be overwhelming favourites to defeat Scotland in next week's Calcutta Cup clash.
However, a defiant Johnson said: "Despite what people think, we are going to turn up to this game -- we aren't going to cancel it. We are coming. We are keen to go."
About the author
- Writer: AFP
Position: News agency