Wing Sean Maitland talks embarrassing moments, sexy team-mates and Batman in this offbeat Q&A

Downtime with… Saracens and Scotland wing Sean Maitland

What’s the funniest thing you’ve seen or heard on the pitch?

One of the players at the Crusaders – I won’t name names – once ran onto the pitch at the start of the game and said to himself, “I think I just had a little poop”!

Do you have any phobias?

I hate heights. When you’re on a bridge or up a skyscraper and you look down, that absolutely terrifies me.

What about superstitions?

I have a few. I like to wear the same tights under my shorts. I never wear black boots – I don’t like them and I feel slow. I’ll wear white ones or boots that are a little bit out there. I have the same pre-match food of pasta and salmon.

It’s simple things about how I prepare and what I like to do before a game; I don’t like changing that too much.

Who are the jokers in the Saracens and Scotland squads?

There are a few big characters in the Saracens team. Richard Barrington is the man always singing Saracens remix songs and around the training ground he’s always joking and making the boys laugh. Alex Goode is a bit of a joker, too, and gives the boys energy.

Saracens and Scotland wing Sean Maitland

Comedy line-up: Greig Laidlaw, Stuart Hogg, Sean Maitland and Ryan Wilson during the anthem (Getty Images)

With Scotland, Hoggy (Stuart Hogg) is up there – he’s always jumping out and giving boys frights. Ryan Wilson makes gags here and there in team meetings.

What’s your nickname?

Skux. It’s not self-proclaimed! It’s something we call each other back home in New Zealand if someone thinks they’re the man; it’s taking the p*** really.

When I joined Glasgow, the Scotland boys caught on and started calling me it. It’s stuck from Glasgow to Scotland to Saracens. But it’s not self-proclaimed – make sure that explanation is there or Kiwi boys will think, ‘Freaking hell, he calls himself that!’

Is there anything that annoys you?

People who flip bottles – I freaking hate that. I see the young boys trying to do it all the time.

If you could be any of your team-mates, who’d it be?

Marcelo Bosch. He’s a sexy man. And is still going at 35!

What’s your most embarrassing moment?

Probably being told to pull my head in by Richie McCaw. I was playing for the Crusaders in Cape Town in a Super Rugby semi-final against the Stormers when I was 22, so pretty young. I scored a try and then celebrated into the camera. Richie was there and he’s really old school. He told me to pull my head in and get back to halfway.

Saracens and Scotland wing Sean Maitland

In the clear: Sean Maitland breaks v the Stormers with Richie McCaw in support (Getty Images)

Who’d you like to be stuck in a lift with?

Alex Goode. He just talks so much s*** it would take my mind off being stuck in a lift. He would keep me occupied because he wouldn’t shut up!

What’s your guilty pleasure?

I love eating Nutella straight out of the jar! If I know it’s there, I’ll have a little bit. It’s not good for the skin folds but I have a sweet tooth.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be?

Could I be Batman? He doesn’t need superpowers, he’s just ‘the man’. I’m a big superhero fan and I could say to fly, but I’d like to be Batman.

Who would be your three dream dinner party guests?

First of all, Tiger Woods because I love golf and love Tiger. Roger Federer – I absolutely idolise him. My last? LeBron James because I’m a massive NBA fan.

Roger Federer

Tennis great: Roger Federer in action (Getty Images)

Do you have any hidden talents?

I can beatbox. I’m actually pretty s*** and I wouldn’t say it’s a talent, but I do it for the boys at Saracens, give them a beat when we’re in a circle before training.

If your house was on fire, what would you save? People and pets are safe.

My PlayStation and my guitar – I still have a little jam here and there. I could carry the PlayStation in my left hand and the guitar in my right.

What would you like to achieve outside of rugby?

I’d like to open my own coffee shop or café. I love coffee and I love good food, good breakfasts. It would have eggs Benedict and nice produce. I’d like to do it here in St Albans but I think I’ll move back to Christchurch after rugby.

This article originally appeared in the March 2019 edition of Rugby World magazine.

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