Sean Maitland thought he had gone too early into his dive for Scotland’s fourth and crucial try against Samoa, not realising the difference between Japanese and British turf.
The wing scored one try and was illegally prevented from getting his second when hit with a no arms tackle by Samoan wing Ed Fidow. Referee Pascal Gauzere gave a penalty try as he felt Maitland would have scored when he dived for the left hand corner with five minutes left in Kobe, but for Fidow’s no-arms hit.
“I slid in for the second try and thought I had dived too early to be honest,” said the wing, who has Samoan heritage. “It was only when I saw the replay that I thought `good’.
“Looking back I would maybe do it a bit different. I thought I would slide in but the ground is like sandpaper – we’re not in the UK any more.
“(Fidow) didn’t use his arms and came off his knee. I knew we were then looking at a penalty try. It was a bit of relief for me at that moment, but we would have probably scored anyway.”
His first try was a perfect cross kick from Finn Russell, just like they drew it up in practice.
“Our kicking game in that first half we put them under a lot of pressure,” he said. “I was in that corner for a while. I was there for maybe ten seconds and I was surprised they did not spot me. Finn being Finn, his kick was on the money and I finished it.”
The team now have days off to regain body weight – a few kgs will have been lost in the steam room that was the enclosed Kobe-Misaki Stadium – and relax, with it likely that a shadow team will play against Russia in the third pool game in nine days’ time.
“We have a few days off now to switch from rugby which will be good,” continued Maitland. “We are in Kobe for a few more days in this great city, we love it here. Maybe try some of the beef and sake, like you guys!”
But the game was doubly special for Maitland, in that he played against his cousin, Samoan replacement scrum-half Pele Cowley, knowing their grandfather, Ike Cowley, was watching.
“Papa is going through a rough time with dementia but he is all good, he will supportive of us both,” he said. “We got the win and it is great my cousin got on and I thought he played well. It was a great moment with all the family here after the game.”