Rugby: Johnson defends selection of Maitland for Six Nations

Scotland’s interim coach Scott Johnson insisted there was no “tokenism” about the selection of New Zealand-born wing Sean Maitland for the RBS 6 Nations.

Maitland, who has represented the Maori All Blacks and the New Zealand Under-20s, arrived in Scotland in October after signing a three-year contract with Glasgow.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The 24-year-old has made five starts and scored one try for the Warriors since his debut in December. Although Maitland’s father was born in New Zealand, his uncle and grandparents hail from Scotland and he was brought up with strong Scottish roots.

“When I spoke to his Dad he was standing in his kilt in New Zealand,” Johnson said. “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.

Maitland will become the latest so-called “kilted Kiwi” if he makes his Scotland debut in their opening RBS 6 Nations match at Twickenham on February 2. Maitland has already starred at Twickenham, scoring two tries as part of the Crusaders side that beat the Sharks in a Super 15 match in March 2011.