Gregor Townsend will take weekend to make decision on Sean Maitland

Gregor Townsend refused to be drawn on Sean Maitland’s breach of coronavirus protocols and insisted no decision had yet been made on whether the winger would be included in the Scotland squad to play Wales next weekend.

Scotland coach Gregor Townsend during the win over Georgia.
Scotland coach Gregor Townsend during the win over Georgia.

Maitland was in the Barbarians squad which was due to play England on Sunday but the match had to be called off after 12 players were stood down for breaking Covid rules.

The Saracens winger was one of the dozen who left their hotel bubble to have dinner at a London restaurant. It meant the ‘bubble environment’ was compromised and scuppered England’s hopes of getting a match under their belts before they resume their Six Nations campaign against Italy next weekend.

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Maitland appears to have put at risk his place in the Scotland squad for next Saturday’s match in Llanelli.

Townsend, speaking after Scotland’s 48-7 win over Georgia, said he would take stock before making a decision.

“We won’t select a squad until the rest of the weekend is over,” said the Scotland coach. “We have players playing at other clubs on Saturday and Sunday so no decision has been made.

“I only heard about the Barbarians just before we boarded the bus to the game so I’ve not had time to digest it but it is obviously a disappointment that a game was called off due to the actions of players. That’s all I can say as I don’t know much about it.”

Townsend was more forthcoming on Scotland’s eight-try victory in their first game back after the long lay-off.

“It was certainly a strong hit-out for our forwards,” he said. “The ball was slippy and there were errors from both teams and we didn’t get a lot of fluency in our attack but the forward performance was excellent. I was really pleased with the scrum and maul – maul attack and maul defence.

“The players know they have been in a tough, physical game which is excellent preparation for the step up next week.”

The match saw the return of Finn Russell to the Scotland side, ending his year-long exile following a well publicised falling out with Townsend. The pair reconciled during lockdown and the coach declared himself pleased with Russell’s cameo from the bench.

“He played well, I thought his passing was outstanding. He had two or three really quick passes and we were unlucky with one as we got held up over the line, but he opened up space in the defence and had a couple of good kicks too.

“He had a really positive impact on the game, as he has in training this week.”

It was Russell’s 50th cap but his first from the bench.

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