Maitland lines up cousin Cooper
Maitland lines up cousin CooperSHARE
Scotland wing Sean Maitland said he hoped to get the chance to play against his cousin, Quade Cooper, after being selected for the British and Irish Lions tour of Australia.
New Zealand-born Maitland was something of a surprise inclusion in Lions coach Warren Gatland's squad on Tuesday after winning just five caps for his adopted country Scotland during this season's Six Nations.
The 24-year-old, who qualified for Scotland through his grandparents, did not take long to make his mark on the international stage when he scored a try on his Test debut against England at Twickenham in February.
But his inclusion in New Zealander Gatland's 37-strong Lions party was by no means assured and certainly came as something of a shock to the Glasgow wing who played for the Crusaders before moving North.
"I'm pretty speechless, I am over the moon, words can't describe what I'm feeling at the moment," Maitland told Sky Sports.
"The squad went live, I was watching it with the Glasgow boys in the changing room and that's when I found out."
"It's been a rollercoaster for me, coming over here to try and achieve new goals.
"Playing for Scotland was a very proud moment and in a Lions year it has worked out well for me, but the hard work begins now," he added.
Australia could include a native New Zealander of their own in controversial Reds playmaker Cooper
"We could talk about a rivalry that started at the age of five when he beat me in a long-distance race," said Maitland. He's had the wood over me in a few recent battles so hopefully we can get one over him."
Cooper, for all his undoubted talent, found himself sidelined when Australia coach Robbie Deans – like Gatland a native New Zealander – left him out of the Wallabies' preliminary 30-man Lions training camp earlier this month.
That decision came after Cooper was fined Aus$60,000 (US$63,100) and banned for three games last October for bringing the game into disrepute.
Deans was adamant Cooper was not being further punished for his criticism last year of the Wallabies' so-called "toxic" culture.
The 25-year-old made headlines when he lashed out on social media at the environment within the national squad and the defensive style of the coach.
Just a day after his omission from the 30-man squad, Cooper pressed his claims to play against the Lions by steering the Reds to a shock 31-23 win over the Chiefs.
Deans is due to select his top 25 players for the Lions series on May 19.
The Lions play the first of three Tests against the Wallabies in Brisbane on June 22.