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Another blow for the Guinness Pro12 as a former Lion opts for the Aviva Premiership

Sean Maitland would rather play for a poor English side than a good Scottish one.

Maitland has been brilliant for Glasgow for the last few seasons.
Maitland has been brilliant for Glasgow for the last few seasons.
Image: Billy Stickland/INPHO

THERE’S BEEN A good deal of reflection done from people associated with the Pro12 over the last week as we now enter the final weekend of Champions Cup pool play with the real possibility that the league will have just one representative in the last eight.

A lot of focus has been on the greater purchasing power that the English and French clubs have compared to the Pro12 teams and today did little to dispute that. London Irish, who are one of the weaker teams in the Aviva Premiership, announced the signing of Scottish international wing Sean Maitland.

Maitland has been an integral part of Glasgow’s revival under Gregor Townsend since moving up from the Crusaders and toured with the Lions in the summer of 2013. It will come as a big blow to the Scottish club who had been building nicely until this season’s disappointing Champions Cup campaign.

“I’m excited to be joining London Irish at the end of the season,” Maitland said in a statement released by his new club.

“The structure off the field is exceptional and with the appointments that have been made, the club is clearly striving to get back to the top of the European game and I’m looking forward to being involved in that process.”

For the last few years Glasgow have been playing a lovely brand of rugby in the Pro12 but they haven’t been able to translate it onto the European stage. That hasn’t been entirely down to being outspent by English and French clubs because the Scottish side drastically underperformed in their back-to-back defeats to Toulouse this season.

It will be tough for Townsend to replace a talent like Maitland’s.

Source: PRO12 Rugby/YouTube

 - © AFP 2014

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