A COMBINATION of financial and positional considerations are understood to have been behind Sean Maitland’s decision to opt for pastures new and agree a deal to leave Glasgow Warriors and move to the English Premiership with London Irish at the end of the season.
The 26-year-old may have achieved Scotland and Lions recognition in his 27 months at Scotstoun but Glasgow’s decision not to make him an offer he couldn’t refuse as well as a desire to re-locate himself from wing to full-back are understood to have been decisive in Maitland agreeing a long-term deal with the Irish.
The 15-times Scotland capped Maitland is also understood to be excited about the opportunity to work under Irish’s new head coach Tom Coventry, who will take charge at the Madejski next season and whom he played under with New Zealand schools.
Following the announcement that Fijian international scrum-half Niko Matawalu had agreed a summer move to Bath, the Kiwi born Maitland has now become
the second big-name Warrior to succumb to the lucrative lure of the English top-flight.
Maitland said: “I’ve really enjoyed my time in Glasgow and it’s been great being part of the club over the last three years.
“Since moving to Glasgow I’ve been selected to play for Scotland and the British & Irish Lions, so I’m grateful to Scottish Rugby for the opportunity to come over here.
“I’m looking forward to my new challenge in London next season, but all my focus will be on the Warriors until then, starting with a massive game against Bath this weekend.”
But with Coventry set to move from his position as assistant coach of New Zealand Super Rugby franchise the Waikato Chiefs at the end of the season and Maitland having been given assurances that his future at the Madejski is seen at 15, the Scotland international is clearly excited about his summer departure and the opportunity to cement himself in the position he has always seen as his best, under a coach who played a prominent part in his youthful development.
Maitland said: “I’m excited to be joining London Irish at the end of the season. Having spoken to Bob Casey and Glenn Delaney and knowing how Tom Coventry operates as a coach, helped with my decision making.
“The structure off the field is exceptional and with the appointments that have been made, the Club is clearly striving to get back to the top of the European game and I’m looking forward to being involved in that process.”
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