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Maitland told Gregor Townsend he prefers holding his kids not tackle bags

By Ian Cameron
Sean Maitland /Getty

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Saracens wing Sean Maitland has revealed the conversation he had with Gregor Townsend that saw him left out of Scotland’s Six Nations squad, admitting he preferred time with his young family over holding ‘tackle bags’.

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Maitland, who has won 53 caps, and wife Nava have three young children Louis (1), Lilly (3) and Lucy (5) and the Saracens wing, who has played more than 100 games for the club, told Townsend he could not be away from his family if he was only “holding a tackle bag” in training.

However, Maitland insists he is not retiring from test rugby and his hoping his try-scoring form for Saracens will earn him a recall to the squad during the Six Nations.

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The wing told the Saracens website: “I spoke to Gregor Townsend and told him I didn’t want to travel north and be away from Nava and the kids if I was only going to be holding tackle bags. I’m never going to retire from international rugby, but I understand he is looking towards the 2023 World Cup.

“I’m gutted I’m not in the Scottish squad and any chance I get to put my hand-up for selection I will do so. I still think I’m in good enough shape to play at that level.

“If I don’t get to play another Test for Scotland then that’s OK. I’ve been to two World Cups and won more than 50 caps. I’ll be ready if he Gregor thinks he needs me, but being able to spend a bit more time helping out at home will be good – it gets pretty hectic!”

Maitland, 33-years-old, was born in New Zealand and is related to Quade Cooper, has played for Canterbury, Crusaders, Glasgow, London Irish, New Zealand Maori before helping Saracens become the dominant force in English and European rugby before their demotion to the Championship for salary cap breaches.

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