Grans take pride in try

Babybe­ings start next week

South Waikato News - - FRONT PAGE - By ADEN MILES

Two Toko­roa grand­moth­ers are singing the praises of their grand­son Sean Mait­land’s de­but for Scot­land against Eng­land at the week­end.

Sean’s de­but game, 18,000km away at Twick­en­ham was capped with a stun­ning try on the wing.

While the 24-year-old’s try was not enough to carry Scot­land to vic­tory as they fell 38-18 to Eng­land in their Six Na­tions opener, his grand­moth­ers June Mait­land and Mar­garet ‘‘ Nan’’ Cow­ley shared their de­light with his per­for­mance.

‘‘I am really happy and proud that he is play­ing for Scot­land. It is just un­be­liev­able,’’ Mrs Mait­land who, hails from Glas­gow, said on Mon­day.

‘‘I am the proud­est nan in New Zealand right now,’’ Mrs Cow­ley said in an ear­lier in­ter­view.

‘‘When one door closes an­other opens and as a nana I am happy that Sean has made his choice.

‘‘Sean is get­ting to know his fam­ily in Scot­land, his her­itage, and this (se­lec­tion) is a bonus.’’

Be­fore the de­but Mrs Cow­ley was ex­cited about the test match.

‘‘Oh yes, we will all be get­ting to­gether. We wouldn’t miss this for the world. It’s an­other won­der­ful step in his jour­ney and if he is happy then we are happy.’’

The of­ten-quiet rugby player was also able to have a few words with one of his grand­moth­ers af­ter the game.

‘‘My daugh­ter (Jac­que­line Mait­land) and her hus­band (Scotty Tay­lor) live in South Africa now but they went over to watch the game at Twick­en­ham. I spoke to them af­ter the game and they gave the phone to Sean.

‘‘He doesn’t say much but he just said ‘Hi nana’, and I just told him that it was a good game and that I am really happy for him,’’ Mrs Mait­land said.

The Scot­tish team play Italy in their next Six Na­tions match.

‘‘They are go­ing to be play­ing the week af­ter next and they will be play­ing Italy who, just beat France,’’ Mrs Mait­land said.

Mrs Cow­ley said: ‘‘He’s shown he can play footy with the best of them and the im­pact he’s made since ar­riv­ing at Glas­gow in the au­tumn has un­der­lined what we’d seen of him play­ing for the Cru­saders in Su­per Rugby.’’

Mait­land plays for Glas­gow Warriors who are based at Scot­stoun Sta­dium, a district with a fam­ily link to the Mait­land clan.

‘‘It is really funny be­cause I didn’t know where the Warriors’ ground was but I found out it was Scot­stoun. That is where Sean’s great-grand­mother was born and where his great- great- grand­mother lived for her whole life.

‘‘I don’t think he knows that. I haven’t told him that,’’ Mrs Mait­land said.

The Toko­roa-bred flyer’s se­lec­tion to start on the right wing against bit­ter ri­vals Eng­land, came af­ter mov­ing to Scot­land, where he qual­i­fies to play test rugby through his grand­par­ents, af­ter be­ing de-listed by the Cru­saders last year.

The winger won the un­der-20 World Cup as an All Black and played for New Zealand Maori.

Mait­land is also the cousin of an­other Toko­roa rugby ex­port, Wal­laby Quade Cooper.

‘‘I guess good rugby genes run in the fam­ily or some­thing,’’ Mrs Cow­ley said.

Scot­land’s in­terim coach Scott John­son said Mait­land was ‘‘very proud’’ to be pulling on the Scot­land jersey for the first time.

But Mait­land’s amaz­ing story might not end with Scot­land.

He is also qual­i­fied to play for the Bri­tish and Ir­ish Lions when they take on the Wal­la­bies in Aus­tralia later this year.

The Lions, of course, are coached by an­other Waikato prod­uct, War­ren Gat­land, while the Wal- la­bies are led by the man who gave Mait­land his de­but at the Cru­saders, Rob­bie Deans.

If Mait­land’s Scot­tish form is good enough, he might find him­self win­ning a place in the Lions squad and op­pos­ing the man who gave him his big break in 2008.

With a myr­iad of fu­ture pos­si­bil­i­ties, Mrs Mait­land had some ad­vice for her grand­son.

‘‘He has to make the most of it. It is a short ca­reer . . . But he is a really, really nice boy.’’

Ad­di­tional re­port­ing from

TOKO­ROA TAL­ENT: Sean Mait­land is cre­at­ing a name for him­self in in­ter­na­tional rugby cir­cles.

OLD SCHOOL: 1999, Toko­roa rugby stars Sean Mait­land, far left, with cousin and Aus­tralian rugby star turned boxer Quade Cooper at Toko­roa skate park.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.