'Maitland is proud of Scottish heritage'
January 23, 2013
Sean Maitland on the day he was named in the Scotland squad © PA Photos
Scotland skipper Kelly Brown not feeling the pressure%]
Scotland interim coach Scott Johnson insists the selection of New Zealand-born winger Sean Maitland is not "tokenism" and that he is proud of his Scottish heritage.
Former Crusaders winger Maitland signed for the Glasgow Warriors back in October on a three-year deal and has since made five appearances for the RaboDirect PRO12 side. Maitland had turned out for the Maori All Blacks and the New Zealand Under-20s in the past but was included in Scotland's squad for the Six Nations. And Johnson has emphasised that Maitland's upbringing is steeped in Scottish heritage.
Although Maitland's father was born in New Zealand, his uncle and grandparents hail from Scotland and he was brought up as "half Scottish". "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.
"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" if he makes his Scotland debut in their opening Six Nations match at Twickenham on February 2. Scotland have not won there in 30 years but Johnson dismisses that history as irrelevant.
"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. "The unknown factor is a good thing for us. We are the poor little boys on the block and we are happy to go in as the poor little boys on the block. But rest assured, come game time we may not be a poor little boy."
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