Grans take pride in try
Babybeings start next week
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.