Scotland import Brendan Laney last night backed Sean Maitland to prove a major hit for his adopted country, writes David Kelso.
Despite arriving three months ago, the Glasgow recruit's Scotland selection is not the quickest for an overseas player, but if Maitland lines up against England in Saturday's Six Nations opener at Twickenham, the Kiwi is sure to be accepted more readily than Laney was.
One of the biggest storms to rock Scottish rugby broke in 2001 when Laney was fast-tracked into the Scotland line-up to face his native New Zealand by Ian McGeechan. But after surviving a verbal onslaught from Gavin Hastings, Ian Paxton and Ian Barnes over the selection, he earned 20 caps and 141 points, and insisted Maitland will dodge similar negativity because fans have seen his quality at Glasgow.
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"Sean is a brilliant player, at wing or full-back, and the most important thing is he can slot into whatever team he is put into, which he has shown in his couple of months with Glasgow. I hope he gets a good crack at the Six Nations and enjoys it as much as I did. I have marvellous memories that will last for ever and I am sure he will be the same."
"No matter what he achieves for Scotland, he won't get close to scoring 24 points in a championship match." Not only did Laney create a new Six Nations individual record, he matched Hastings by reaching 100 international points in nine matches. "I was a goal-kicker - and I know Sean can't kick. So if he wants to get close to me, he will have to score a lot of tries."
Scotland's caretaker Scott Johnson will reveal his choice of skipper today, and name his side tomorrow.