Sean Maitland told to ‘train his way back’ into Scotland team after Barbarians fiasco

Gregor Townsend has resisted the temptation to name Sean Maitland in his side to face Italy in the Autumn Nations Cup.

Sean Maitland, centre, returned to Scotland training this week. Picture: Craig Williamson/SNS
Sean Maitland, centre, returned to Scotland training this week. Picture: Craig Williamson/SNS

The Saracens winger was recalled to the Scotland training group after being dropped in the aftermath of his breach of quarantine protocol with the Barbarians, but he has failed to win a place in the matchday squad for the game in Florence on Saturday.

Scotland coach Townsend has told the player to “train his way back into the team”.

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Maitland was one of 13 Barbarians players ordered to appear before a Rugby Football Union disciplinary hearing for a breach of coronavirus protocols that forced the cancellation of last month’s non-cap international against England.

The players broke Covid-19 regulations by leaving their team hotel to go out drinking in central London. Some have also been accused of providing false statements during the RFU’s investigation.

All 13 have been charged with conduct prejudicial to the interests of the union or the game.

The incident generated bad publicity for the sport, particularly when footage emerged of Maitland, former England captain Chris Robshaw, and Manu Vunipola – among others – drinking at the Running Horse pub in Mayfair. The video was circulated on social media.

Townsend has picked Darcy Graham and Duhan van der Merwe as his starting wingers against Italy, with Blair Kinghorn on the bench.

On his decision to omit Maitland, Townsend said: “Yeah. Look, he missed a week. Other people have grabbed their opportunities. He wasn’t involved in the Georgia or Wales game and the three others played. He’ll have to train his way into the team.”

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