‘Crazy’ rise for Maitland

Sean Maitland's rapid rise to the top of the northern hemisphere game took another step forward today as the British & Irish Lions met up for the first time ahead of the 10-match tour of Hong Kong and Australia. [more]

‘Crazy’ rise for Maitland

Sean Maitland’s rapid rise to the top of the northern hemisphere game took another step forward today as the British & Irish Lions met up for the first time ahead of the 10-match tour of Hong Kong and Australia.

The Glasgow Warriors wing was one of the standout selections in Warren Gatland’s 37-man squad a fortnight ago, just half a season after leaving his native New Zealand to try his luck in Scotland.

After making his club debut in early December, Maitland starred for his adopted country in his first international campaign in the spring and made such a strong impression on Gatland that he was in the thick of things this morning, taking on press duties at a Lions logistical day at Syon House.

“It’s been a crazy six months for me,” said Maitland.

“Six months ago I wouldn’t have thought I’d be sat here with the Lions involved with all these great players.

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“I thought I’d be knuckling down for another Super Rugby season but I made the decision to come over here and try and play for Scotland. It just happened to be a Lions year – it really was just a coincidence.

“It’s been a rollercoaster ride – it’s been a dream. It sends shivers down my spine.  

“I’m honoured to be here and I cant wait to get started.”

Having only moved to Scotland late last year, Maitland has so far had very little contact with his fellow tourists but he doesn’t intend for things to stay that way much longer.

The 24-year-old former Crusaders star recognises the need to build relationships as quickly as possible given the lack of time the Lions have together before the tour opener in Hong Kong on June 1.

He’s already looking forward to lacing up his boots with the cream of the British and Irish game and has pinpointed Irish duo Jonathan Sexton and Tommy Bowe as two men he’s particularly keen to playing alongside.

“Talking to guys who’ve been on previous tours, they gave me some good advice and told me that you’ve just got to get stuck in and be the first guy to introduce yourself to everyone. That’s what I’m going to try and do,” added Maitland.

“I’m looking forward to playing with Jonny Sexton. He’s a 10 who likes to take the ball to the line. As a winger, I like to hang around the 10 and try and feed off the inside backs so I’m looking forward to running off him. 

“Also Tommy Bowe – he’s a great player who runs great lines. It’ll be good to feed off him and be a sponge and soak it all up.”

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