‘I’m playing with guys who were born after 2000… at least it keeps me young!: A new Saracens deal has brought relief for SEAN MAITLAND as he eyes the Premiership title and a Scotland call-up
- Sean Maitland has admitted his extended Saracens stay was ‘lastminute.com’
- The 34-year-old hasn’t played a Test for his adopted country Scotland since 2021
- Winger is hopeful of getting World Cup call-up as he gears up for Saturday’s final
Sean Maitland admitted his extended Saracens stay was ‘lastminute.com’ and the wing hopes he may yet have a chance of sealing a similarly late spot in Scotland’s World Cup squad.
New Zealand-born Maitland, 34, hasn’t played a Test for his adopted country since 2021 and has been left out of his international head coach Gregor Townsend’s extended training party for the global showpiece in France later this year. That’s despite him being a regular star performer in England’s Gallagher Premiership with Saracens.
You might think Maitland would be frustrated.
But when the latest Scotland squad was announced, he had bigger fish to fry having not yet had his playing future sorted. Now, having signed a new one-year Saracens deal, Maitland can look to the future. That starts with Saturday’s Premiership final with Sale at Twickenham.
‘I was in the Six Nations squad but unfortunately I didn’t get a game,’ Maitland said, when questioned about his ongoing Scotland hopes.
Wing Sean Maitland has admitted his extended Saracens stay was ‘lastminute.com
The 34-year-old hasn’t played a Test for his adopted country Scotland since 2021
‘I probably should have got a look in in that last game against Italy. Gregor called me and said with Darcy Graham coming back, it is a tight one but if there is an injury, be ready.
‘I am just happy my future was secured. It is not just me. I have got three young kids under six and there was uncertainty about what was happening.
‘I will still stay fit and if there is an injury, hopefully I will get the chance.
‘The contract was my main focus. Other people were going through similar situations to me and I was just happy it was sorted out.’
With money tight in English rugby and the division’s salary cap – how much each team can spend on its squad – lower than in the past, many players have been left sweating on their futures.Maitland was forced to look at other options, but always wanted to stay at Saracens.
At the 11th hour, he got his wish.
‘It was lastminute.com. Again,’ Maitland said. ‘The market is probably not the best at the moment, especially for a 34-year-old winger. I’m just so happy because I have a young family and my kids get to stay in the same school and in the same house for another year.
Maitland has been left out of Gregor Townsend’s (above) extended training party for the global showpiece in France
The Scotland head coach is blessed with wingers, with Darcy Graham (left) coming back soon
‘To move from this club, which I love, would have been pretty s***. I’m just grateful I get to be here for another year.‘There were a few things out there but I said to my agent “I just want to stay”.
‘It’s a bit complicated with the salary cap and everything that’s going on in rugby.‘I’m glad we were able to get it done.’
Townsend is certainly blessed with wingers. The giant Duhan van der Merwe is an undisputed first choice. Graham is now back from injury and Kyle Steyn is an underrated and consistent performer. Blair Kinghorn can play out wide, but Townsend – who has signed a new Scotland deal – must be doing well if he can afford to ignore the experience and class of Maitland.
He will surely be a key figure for Saracens against Sale at Twickenham. Maitland is perhaps lucky to be available for the final given he escaped any form of card in the semi-final win over Northampton for a dangerous tackle. Maitland has made 130 Saracens appearances and has the chance of a third Premiership title this weekend.
Mark McCall’s side are favourites to edge out Sale in what will be a brutal contest.
‘Mentally and physically I still feel good and I get looked after here,’ Maitland said.
‘You look around the league and you see guys playing well into their mid-30s. I’m still not the oldest here because of Alex Goode. He’s got four or five months on me. I still feel young.
Maitland is gearing up for the final with Sales and maintains hope of receiving a call-up
‘We’re in this ridiculous environment where I’m playing with guys who were born in the 2000’s. I used to laugh when I first started way back in 2008 that I was running around with people born in the 70s. It goes so fast. I’m in an environment where it keeps you young.
‘I’m enjoying my rugby and coming into rugby every day with a smile on my face. I’m in a great place. But in terms of the future, I’m taking it year after year at the moment.
‘This is a very special week but the whole year has been special. We have changed how we are playing and are scoring tries. To win the Premiership would top a really special year.
‘Hopefully we can go one better than last year.‘The game has given me so much over the last 15 or 16 years. I was accepting the fact this was my last year and wanted to go out on a high winning the Premiership.
‘But now I’ve got one more year and the dream keeps going on.’
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