Sean Maitland reveals he was hours away from writing Saracens leaving speech before contract call
ean Maitland has revealed he was just two days away from giving a leaving speech when Saracens offered him a new contract to stay in north London.
Scotland wing Maitland had feared his seventh year at Saracens would be his last, revealing to standard sports on April 6 that he did not know his plans for next season.
The 34-year-old was anxious about his future but was determined to stay with the Men In Black. And on Wednesday April 26, just two days before the club’s annual departures party – to toast the players leaving that summer – Saracens offered a new one-year deal.
Maitland heads into the Gallagher Premiership final on Saturday in fine form, having netted a brace in the 38-15 semi-final win over Northampton. The powerful wing will also tackle Sale, buoyed by newfound job security.
“Before the London Irish game, I said to Phil Morrow, ‘Am I preparing a leaving speech for next Friday?’, and he looked at me and said, ‘We have a few things to sort out. ‘” Maitland said.
“Then it’s only the following Wednesday, I didn’t hear anything Monday or Tuesday, and Wednesday I was with my son.
“Friday was the departure dinner and I still didn’t know what was going on. Got a call to come in and thought they were going to tell me this was the last time I was coming here.
“I sat down with Phil and Smally (Mark McCall) and they were like, ‘Man, we want to give you another year’. It was special.
“The game has given me so much over the last 15 or 16 years. I accepted the fact that it was my last year and I wanted to come out on top by winning the Premiership. But then it’s one more year. and the dream continues.
Maitland narrowly missed selection for Scotland’s World Cup squad, despite returning to Gregor Townsend’s Test setup in the Six Nations.
This omission from the World Cup will increase Maitland’s availability for Saracens next season, potentially tipping the odds in his favor for the new deal.
“It was last-minute-dot-com again, the last two deals have been pretty similar,” Maitland said.
“As you know, the market is probably not the best right now, especially for a 34-year-old winger. I’m so happy because I have a young family and my children can stay in the same school and in the same house for another year.
He suspended that speech for another year.
“Leaving this club that I love would have been pretty bad! I’m just grateful to be here for another year.
Director of Rugby McCall hailed Maitland’s lasting influence on the Saracens setup.
“He has a big role from a pure game perspective, but as a senior, experienced player, a guy who’s played in quite a few finals – we have that across our team,” McCall said.
“There were a number of things going on for Sean, in terms of a new contract. From January we communicated with him that if X happened it would be unlikely there would be a contract, but if Y happened, we want it to stay, and Y happened.
“It took a long time, it took longer than we would have liked. We want to give certainty to the players, but we have maintained the dialogue with Sean every week on the situation. And we are delighted that he can stay for another year. He therefore suspended this speech for another year.