McMillan to coach NZ Barbarians in Lions tour opener

Bay of Plenty head coach Clayton McMillan. Photo / Getty Images.
Bay of Plenty head coach Clayton McMillan. Photo / Getty Images.

Clayton McMillan of Bay of Plenty will coach the NZ Barbarians Provincial XV in their June 3 clash with the Lions in Whangarei.

The Steamers coach will be assisted by former wings Roger Randle (Waikato) and Joe Maddock (Canterbury). The Barbarians will be selected from a pool of provincial union players across the country and assemble for one week leading into the June 3 tour opener.

McMillan said the opportunity to add to the Barbarians legacy had his leadership group excited.

"The history and culture of the New Zealand Barbarians is rich, so it will be an honour for this group to be a part of that. Opening the DHL NZ Lions series against the best players from the Northern Hemisphere will no doubt be the biggest match of many of our players' lives. It will be a great occasion for them and the people of Whangarei," said McMillan.

Along with Randle and Maddock, McMillan will spend the next six weeks tracking players in the lead-up to a squad naming in April.

"We're aiming to play an entertaining brand of rugby which fits with the Baabaas' tradition of innovation and flair. For that, we'll need a mix of new, young stars and more experienced provincial campaigners," said McMillan.

"It is a great opportunity for the match in Whangarei to set the scene for what promises to be an enthralling series with the British and Irish Lions.

President of New Zealand Barbarian Rugby Club and former All Blacks prop Ron Williams said it was fitting that the Barbarians would open the series.

"The New Zealand Barbarian club has a proud tradition dating back to 1937, representing every region over the years. We're excited by Clayton, who has an excellent track record, coming on board to lead the provincial Barbarians and looking forward to seeing the club's traditions passed on to the players who take on the Lions. We can't wait for June 3."

The team will be managed by Chris Back (Wanganui) and is rounded out with Northland support staff, Jed Smethurst (physio), Tim Hurst (strength and conditioning) and Conlin Locke (doctor)."

- NZ Herald

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