Sean Maitland admitted he thought he’d messed up Scotland’s chance for a bonus-point fourth try with six minutes left in their second Rugby World Cup match by diving for the line too early.
Maitland seemed set for his second score of the night as he torpedoed in on the left-hand corner but had the ball dislodged, with what turned out to be a dangerous knee-first tackle by Ed Fidow, who was given a second yellow, and the penalty try got the Scots what they were desperately looking for in the second-half of th 34-0 rout of Samoa in Kobe.
“I slid in for the second try and thought I’d dived too early to be honest,” said the 31-year-old Saracens wing, who had scored the first try of the evening midway through the second half when he collected Finn Russell’s inch-perfect cross-field kick.
“It was only when I saw the replay that I thought ‘good, he didn’t use his arms and came off his knee’. I knew we were then looking at a penalty try,” added Maitland, who now has 12 tries in 43 caps.
“Luckily we got the rewards with a bonus point. It was a bit of relief for me at that moment. But we would have probably scored anyway.”
Maitland conceded he misjudged the conditions by diving too early.
“Looking back I would do things a bit different,” he said.
“I thought I would slide in but the ground is like sandpaper. I’m not in the UK any more. It’s drier here but I was sweating.
“It was tough conditions, up there with the worst conditions I’ve played in. Definitely up there with when we played the Barbarians in 2013 for the Lions [in Hong Kong].
“I had to change jersey at half time... and shorts!”
Follow Duncan Smith at the World Cup in Japan on Twitter @Duncan_Smith