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Just hold on a Kiwi minute; RUGBY: 6 NATIONS COUNTDOWN Johnson: Adopting foreigners is fine but new boy Maitland's 100% Scottish.

Byline: Gary Ralston

SCOTT JOHNSON has defended his adoption process for players and claims Scotland must follow the lead of England and the All Blacks.

The Scotland boss has called up Kiwi winger Sean Maitland for his first cap against England in the RBS Six Nations opener this weekend, three months after he moved to Glasgow from Crusaders.

Maitland, 24, was a world champ at Under-19 and Under-20 level and on the fringes of the full New Zealand squad but is happy to commit to the land of his grandparents.

He joins a long line of players in the squad who were not born in the country such as Tim Visser, David Denton, Ryan Grant, Henry Pyrgos, Max Evans and Jim Hamilton.

However, Aussie Johnson says critics must embrace the realities of professional sport as Maitland, 24, insisted his heart was 100 per cent Scottish.

Johnson said: "We can look too insular in Scotland. New Zealand, the best rugby nation in the world, have Tongans, a Samoans and other South Sea Island boys playing for them.

"England have the largest base of rugby players in the world and yet there is also several non-Englishmen in their squad.

"That is the reality of professional sport. In terms of Sean, his family are proud of their Scottish history.

"He is the exception to the modern rule. He understands the history and is Scottish."

Maitland's grandfather Stan was a welder in the Glasgow shipyards who emigrated with his wife to New Zealand.

Any flak of opting for Scotland as a second best option is water off a duck's back to Maitland, who survived the 2011 earthquake in Christchurch that left 185 dead.

He said: "It's unbelievable to have made the team for England and I hope to do the jersey justice. Things have happened so quickly. I've played five games for Glasgow and I'm very lucky and honoured to be in this position.

"Everyone back home is so proud. My dad is a man of little emotion but when I gave him the news he let it all out.

"People can think what they like but my grandparents were born here and I have a Scottish heart."

Maitland's Glasgow team-mate Dougie Hall has been handed his first start for six years at hooker and No.8 Johnnie Beattie is also recalled. Scotland were mpionship son whitewashed in the championship last year and Johnson was yesterday asked if the nation can take succour from his record at Twickenham.

m He said: "Nah, it's appalling." t 's te e d r, re od " He also refused to bite when quizzed about the comments of ex-Scotland head coach Jim Telfer, who claimed England are arrogant and not as good as they think.Hogg, Scott, (Glasgow), Hall Gray Strokosch Saracens), Ford Johnson added: "They're provocative comments - I'm the last person to question anyone for having an opinion." ey're - and uestion pinion."

mpionship championship was nation his scotteam Hogg, Maitland, Lamont (all Glasgow), Scott, Visser (both Edinburgh), Jackson (Glasgow), Laidlaw (Edinburgh); Grant, Hall (both Glasgow), Murray (Worcester), Gray (Sale), Hamilton (Gloucester), Strokosch (Perpignan), Brown (capt, Saracens), Beattie (Montpellier). Subs: Ford (Edinburgh), Low (Glasgow), Cross (Edinburgh), Kellock (Glasgow), Denton (Edinburgh), Pyrgos, and uestion pinion." Weir (both Glasgow), Evans (Castres).

question opinion."

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TRUE BLUE 3 Adopted Scot Sean Maitland nails his colours to the mast after being called up to face England in Six Nations opener
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Geographic Code:8NEWZ
Date:Jan 30, 2013
Words:568
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