Sean Maitland announces retirement

Winger hopes to bow out in style with a fourth Premiership crown playing for Saracens

Sean Maitland made 53 appearances for Scotland between 2013 and 2021. Image: © Craig Watson -
Sean Maitland made 53 appearances for Scotland between 2013 and 2021. Image: © Craig Watson -

SEAN MAITLAND has announced his retirement from rugby at the end of this season. The 35-year-old winger earned the last of his 53 caps in March 2021, but has carried on playing regularly for Saracens since then with 16 appearances for the English side so far this season, most recently starting in last weekend’s Champions Cup round of 16 defeat to Bordeaux.

In an Instagram post, Maitland said:

After much reflection and countless conversations with my family, I’ve decided that this season will be my last and I will retire from the game I love so much.

As a kid growing up in Tokoroa, all I ever wanted to be was a rugby player and I’ve been so lucky to have lived out my childhood dream for 17 years.

There are of course too many people to thank right now, but to all the players, coaches, staff and supporters over the years thank you.

To my family, my beautiful wife Nava, my parents and my 3 amazing little kids, thank you for your sacrifices, your support and your love.

As I step away from the field, I can’t wait to rip in to whatever is next. I look forward to the next chapter, new challenges and goals. The special memories I have made on and off the pitch will stay with me forever.

Much love and thank you.

Maitland – who made his Canterbury debut at the age of just 17 and his first Crusaders appearance at 19 – represented New Zealand at age-grade and Maori All Blacks before moving north to join Glasgow Warriors in 2012.

He qualified to play for Scotland through the grandparent rule and made his debut in the dark blue jersey against England at the start of the 2013 Six Nations.. He played at the 2015 and 2019 Rugby World Cups, and toured with the Lions in 2013 but did not make the Test team.

Maitland moved from Warriors to London Irish in 2015, then joined Saracens a year later, going on to help the North London side to three Premiership and two European titles. He has played 147 times for the club to date and will hope to sign off with another Premiership title at the end of this season.

“We feel very fortunate to have shared the last eight years with Sean,” said Saracens Director of Rugby Mark McCall. “He has been an outstanding competitor on the field and a brilliant team-mate off it.

“Sean is loyal, humble, fun and in his own quiet way has played a key role in driving the values we hold dear. He is respected by everyone and will be greatly missed by us all.

“We would like to thank him for his outstanding contribution to the club and wish him, Nava, Lucy, Lilly and Louis all the best for the future.”

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About David Barnes 4012 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including The Herald/Sunday Herald, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Daily Record, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.


  1. What a great player Sean Maitland was for Scotland – along with Stuart Hogg (a year or two later?, he was one of the players we brought into the team who raised the quality bar in the team at the time and helped kick-start us out of the doldrums when he came in. ALWAYS played well for Scotland. Has had a hell of a career with Saracens also and personally feel he could definitely have played for Scotland longer than he did – not sure why he was so surplus last 3 years. Good luck Sean and thanks.

  2. Surprised Toony didn’t use him in his later year, particularly when he is still good enough to be a Saracens regular, indeed a standout.

  3. Great player and arguably underused in the national squad. Wondering what the situation is for Matt Scott? Last game for Tigers but seems to be eager for another season or two. Never quite got why he was released from Embra 3 seasons or so ago but not convinced it would be a good idea for him to return unless just a stopgap measure next season while some much needed midfield recruitment undertaken.

  4. Agree, classy winger and what a career. Good luck in retirement Sean and thanks for everything you did in Scotland and Warriors shirts.

  5. Agree with all the comments. Too player, and such a graceful runner. Just seemed to glide around the park.

  6. Quality, reliability, and an unflappable ability to make the right decisions on the pitch… Superb player.

  7. A Rolls Royce of a player, super solid, unflappable and absolutely top class.
    Scorer of perhaps the best try in Scottish rugby history.


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