London Irish snap up Scotland wing Sean Maitland
Glasgow Warriors star looking forward to helping London Irish become a force in Europe as Kiwis flock to Hazelwood
London Irish have confirmed the signing of Scotland wing Sean Maitland from Glasgow Warriors on a long-term deal.
The 26-year-old Tokoroa native is the latest New Zealander to commit to a move to the Aviva Premiership club in the summer after All Blacks prop Ben Franks and current Chiefs assistant coach Tom Coventry were announced in the last week.
Having spoken to Bob Casey and Glenn Delaney and knowing how Tom Coventry operates as a coach, helped with my decision making.
Maitland joined the Warriors in October 2012 from New Zealand’s Crusaders franchise with a view to playing for Scotland and quickly established himself on the right wing, scoring 11 tries in 38 appearances for the club to date, as well as scoring two tries in his 15 caps for Scotland.
He won’t be short of familiar faces at Hazelwood, with Scotland international forwards Geoff Cross and Blair Cowan also at the club.
“I’m excited to be joining London Irish at the end of the season,” Maitland said.
“Having spoken to Bob Casey and Glenn Delaney and knowing how Tom Coventry operates as a coach, helped with my decision making.
“The structure off the field is exceptional and, with the appointments that have been made, the club is clearly striving to get back to the top of the European game and I’m looking forward to being involved in that process.
“I’ve really enjoyed my time in Glasgow and it’s been great being part of the club over the last three years.
“Since moving to Glasgow, I’ve been selected to play for Scotland and the British and Irish Lions, so I’m grateful to Scottish Rugby for the opportunity to come over here.
“I’m looking forward to my new challenge in London next season, but all my focus will be on the Warriors until then, starting with a massive game against Bath this weekend.”
Maitland rose through the age-grade ranks in New Zealand during his early days with Canterbury, winning the U19 Rugby World Cup in 2007.
More success followed in 2008 as he played in every match as the Crusaders won the Super 14 title before joining the Baby Blacks at the inaugural Junior World Championship in Wales, where they defeated an England U20 team, which included Alex Goode, Joe Simpson, Miles Benjamin, Alex Corbisiero, Calum Clark and Ben Youngs, 38-3 in Swansea.
His career continued to take off with the Crusaders and a superb 2011 campaign saw Maitland score four tries against the Brumbies as the Christchurch-based franchise reached another final.
With no All Blacks calling on the cards, he chose to become a ‘Kilted Kiwi’ in 2012 and scored his first senior international try on his debut against England at Twickenham in February 2013, while his form for club and country saw him earn a surprise call-up to Warren Gatland’s British and Irish Lions squad.
“Sean is a British and Irish Lion back-three player and proven on the international stage,” said London Irish operations director, Bob Casey.
“He is the right age, a great character and wants to be a big part of our long term plan.
“He is another significant signing and further indication that we want to compete with the best in the Aviva Premiership and Europe.”