Kiwi wing Sean Maitland dropped by Scotland after reported player release issue

Scotland have been reportedly forced to drop veteran Kiwi wing Sean Maitland for the Six Nations series decider against France due to a pemain release quota agreed with English clubs.
The Scots meet France in Paris on Friday (Saturday NZ time) in a rescheduled match that falls outside the international window, requiring Scotland to negotiate with English Premiership clubs over the release of key players.

Scotland scored eight tries in a record 52-10 win over Italy.

Maitland, who plays for relegated English premiership club Saracens, has won 53 caps for Scotland since his debut in 2013, and started three of their previous four Six Nations games this season.

The 32-year-old, has, however, been omitted from Scotlands 29-man squad for the visit to Paris.

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It appears that the Scottish selectors were constrained by restrictions to the number of England-based players he could call up.

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Sean Maitland charges upfield in Scotlands win over England at Twickenham this season.

The Scotsman newspaper reported: It has emerged that Gregor Townsends side were limited to how many English-based personnel they could pick for the game in Paris under the terms of the player-release deal struck with PRL[Premiership Rugby Ltd], the umbrella group that represents Englands top clubs.

It left the Scotland coach with a tough decision to make, and he has opted to exclude Maitland.

Unlike New Zealand where All Blacks are centrally contracted to New Zealand rugby British players principal contracts owned by their clubs, who must agree to their release.

In Maitland's case, the irony is Saracens are not even playing in the English Premiership this season. They were relegated after repeated breaches of the salary cap and are now playing in Englands second tier Championship competition.

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Sean Maitland stoops to secure the ball for Scotland as Irelands Kiwi wing James Lowe looms to make a tackle.

So, instead of potentially being involved in a Six Nations decider at the Stade de France - one of world rugbys greatest venues Maitland may be turning out for Saracens visit to Richmond at the quaint, one-stand Richmond Athletic Ground in suburban London.

Townsend has included five England-based players prop Alex Craig (Gloucester), lock Sam Skinner (Exeter Chiefs), halfback Scott Steele (Harlequins), centre Chris Harris (Gloucester) and captain and fullback Stuart Hogg (Exeter).

Scotland and Exeter lock Jonny Gray could not be considered due to injury.

Shaun Botterill/Getty Images
Saracens' Kiwi wing Sean Maitland scores in a premiership game against Harlequins.

Maitland, who has 15 test tries, played in his customary wing position for Scotland's games against England and Ireland, but started at fullback for the record 52-10 win over Italy last weekend, with Hogg forced to deputise at flyhalf with Finn Russell injured.

However, Glasgow Warriors pivot Adam Hastings, who can also cover fullback, is available this week after serving a three-game ban. He and Jaco van der Walt, who replaced Maitland after 55 minutes against Italy, will cover Russell if the Racing 92 star cannot play at the Stade de France.

France need to win by 22 points and get a bonus point to pip Wayne Pivacs Wales for the Six Nations title on points differential.


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