Sean Maitland offered route back into Scotland team after Barbarians fiasco

Gregor Townsend has extended an olive branch to Sean Maitland by offering him a way back into the Scotland team during the Autumn Nations Cup.

Gregor Townsend says Sean Maitland has shown contrition following the Barbarians incidents. Picture: David Rogers/Getty Images
Gregor Townsend says Sean Maitland has shown contrition following the Barbarians incidents. Picture: David Rogers/Getty Images

The Saracens winger is one of 13 Barbarians players who must appear before a Rugby Football Union disciplinary hearing for a breach of coronavirus protocols that forced the cancellation of last Sunday’s non-cap international against England.

All 13 have been charged with conduct prejudicial to the interests of the union or the game. And in a fresh development, it has emerged that some of those who broke Covid-19 regulations by going out drinking in central London last week provided false statements during the RFU’s investigation.

On Saturday footage emerged of Maitland, former England captain Chris Robshaw, and Manu Vunipola – among others – drinking at the Running Horse pub in Mayfair. The video that was circulated on social media was from one of the two nights out, the first of which only came to light last Friday and resulted in the automatic cancellation of the annual Barbarians fixtures.

Townsend ruled Maitland out of Scotland’s match against Wales in Llanelli on Saturday but said he would consider him for selection for the Autumn Nations Cup next month.

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"Sean was very disappointed in himself, he showed lots of contrition and understands the situation was a serious one,” said the Scotland coach. “Everyone makes mistakes, so not being involved this week is a blow for him and he’ll come back into our squad when he is next available.

"He has been a good player for us over the last few years, he is close to 50 caps, he had an outstanding game in the European quarter-final when Saracens beat Leinster and he was good again in the semi-final loss to Racing, so he is still in very good form and we do see him coming back into the squad.”

Townsend said he was “very disappointed” with the behaviour of the Barbarians players who broke the coronavirus protocols.

“It’s a lesson for our players based up here and for other people in sport,” he said. “A thing they think is minor in normal times can have a huge effect during this Covid period.”

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