While Scottish Rugby debates the potential of new Glasgow signing Sean Maitland, from Canterbury Crusaders, to follow in the footsteps of other kilted Kiwis, the player today made it clear he is looking no further than club commitments at present.
And Maitland, 24, who qualifies for Scotland through paternal grandparents, has also indicated in a statement issued by his management company and carried overnight by TVNZ that it is with something of a heavy heart he will be moving overseas.
“I can’t deny my dream has always been to be an All Black but that has not happened so the chance to play for Glasgow in Scotland is an exciting opportunity that I have been offered,” said the three-quarter in his first public remarks since signing, adding: “I think every New Zealand rugby player dreams about being an All Black so I am no different.
“I am very proud with what I have achieved in New Zealand rugby with Canterbury, Crusaders, Under 19s and Under 20s and the Maori All Blacks. I am excited at the chance to play overseas and experience new opportunities.”
However, it would appear that the lure of Test rugby has been overwhelming after coming to terms with de-listing from Canterbury which reduced his appeal for the All Blacks.
Referring to his ancestry, Maitland said: “I have strong family connections with Scotland so the chance to live and play rugby in Glasgow is exciting for me. Whatever future opportunity that may come as a result of playing for Glasgow is a bonus and definitely something to focus on and strive for.”
However, there appears little chance of Maitland, who once described himself as “half Scottish, a quarter Samoan, a quarter Maori and all Kiwi”, being parachuted into Scotland coach Andy Robinson’s squad later today for the upcoming Autumn Test series.
Any chance to emulate the likes of John and Martin Leslie, Gordon Simpson, Brendan Laney, Glenn Metcalfe, Sean Lineen and Cammy Mather were integrated into the Scottish system when capped – will have to wait as the player has still to obtain an appropriate work visa and undergo a medical.
Also, a question mark remains against the ruptured tendon in a hand which ended his club season in June.