Maitland hopes to play cousin Cooper
April 30, 2013
Sean Maitland is hoping to get one over his cousin in a long-running rivalry © Getty Images
New Zealand-born Maitland was included in Lions coach Warren Gatland's squad on Tuesday after winning just five caps for adopted country Scotland during this season's Six Nations.
The 24-year-old, who qualified for Scotland through his grandparents, did not take long to make his mark on the international stage when he scored a try on his Test debut against England at Twickenham in February.
But his inclusion in New Zealander Gatland's 37-strong Lions party was by no means assured and certainly came as something of a shock.
"I'm pretty speechless, I am over the moon, words can't describe what I'm feeling at the moment," Maitland told Sky Sports. "The squad went live, I was watching it with the Glasgow boys in the changing room and that's when I found out. It's been a rollercoaster for me, coming over here to try and achieve new goals. Playing for Scotland was a very proud moment and in a Lions year it has worked out well for me, but the hard work begins now."
Australia could include a native New Zealander of their own in Reds playmaker Cooper.
"We could talk about a rivalry that started at the age of five when he beat me in a long-distance race," Maitland said. "He's had the wood over me in a few recent battles so hopefully we can get one over him."
Cooper, for all his undoubted talent, found himself on the sidelines when Australia coach Robbie Deans - like Gatland, a native New Zealander - left him out of the Wallabies' preliminary 30-man Lions training camp earlier this month.
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