His resume boasts a professional rugby career and nearly two decades of coaching experience in New Zealand and abroad - but Clayton McMillan's latest role shows he has plenty more to achieve.

McMillan, who is the Māori All Blacks head coach and Bay of Plenty Rugby Union's director of rugby, has signed a one-year contract with New Zealand Rugby to coach the Gallagher Chiefs while head coach Warren Gatland leads the British and Irish Lions tour of South Africa. McMillan will take up the role after he has completed his Mitre 10 Cup duties with the Bay of Plenty Steamers.

He has been instrumental in the success of Bay of Plenty Rugby Union's High Performance programme during his tenure with an impressive record, including last year's Mitre 10 Cup Championship title. Stepping up to lead a Super Rugby side has been something he's wanted to do for some time and he is looking forward to not only the challenge but also the opportunities that may come from it.

"Super Rugby has certainly been a goal of mine and I am honoured to be appointed as the interim head coach for the Gallagher Chiefs," McMillan says.


"I feel like I'm ready to take the next step in my coaching journey," he said on Friday afternoon.

"It's exciting, it's an extremely proud time for not only myself but my family and friends.

He says the Chiefs' have "a fantastic pool of gifted athletes to work with", many of whom he is already familiar with having worked with them through his Bay of Plenty Steamers and Māori All Blacks roles.

Over the next few months, he'll spend time with Gatland and the "experienced and talented management group" to familiarise himself with the environment and establish relationships with staff and players. He says he has always felt supported by the Chiefs and is excited to learn and help

"I can't think of anyone better to operate alongside," he says.

"I'll just work as hard as I can."

McMillan says he applied for the role and went through a shortlist and interview process before being given the role this week. Chiefs Rugby Club's chief executive Michael Collins commended McMillan on his appointment.

"We are excited for Clayton to lead the Gallagher Chiefs in 2021. He is a talented coach and was a stand-out candidate. He boasts an excellent track record of developing players and delivering success. Not only during his tenure as the Director of Rugby for the Bay of Plenty Rugby Union but during the Maori All Blacks and New Zealand Provincial Barbarians campaigns. The results he has achieved reflects his leadership ability," Collins says.


"Clayton is no stranger to the Gallagher Chiefs team having already worked alongside Assistant Coaches Roger Randle and David Hill and a number of the Gallagher Chiefs playing group."

Following his playing career in Bay of Plenty and Japan, the Bay of Plenty centurion transitioned into coaching 18 years ago while finishing playing professionally in Japan.

Upon his return to New Zealand, he has held several age group and club roles in both Bay of Plenty and Wellington before taking the reins of his home province in 2015. McMillan's coaching success has included being appointed the New Zealand Provincial Barbarians Head Coach in 2017 to face the British and Irish Lions during their 2017 tour of New Zealand. It was later that year he was announced as the incoming Maori All Blacks Head Coach. McMillan has since led tours to the Northern Hemisphere, America and Fiji.

McMillan acknowledged the contribution Bay of Plenty Rugby Union has made to his development.

"I am extremely grateful to Mike Rogers CEO and Board for the opportunities I have had with Bay of Plenty Rugby Union to develop as a coach. Their support, alongside the hard work and dedication of our staff has been instrumental in us delivering a successful vision and outcomes for the Union's High-Performance Programme and personally as a coach."

Bay of Plenty Rugby Union chief executive Mike Rogers puts McMillan's selection down to his dedication and commitment to coaching.

"This is great recognition for Clayton. We are delighted for him and very proud. He has been an outstanding contributor for Bay of Plenty Rugby and the Maori All Blacks. It was only going to be a matter of time before he was going to be successful in gaining a position at the Gallagher Chiefs or another Super Rugby franchise."

Clayton McMillan:
Playing Career:
Position: Loose forward
Province: Bay of Plenty
Bay of Plenty Caps: 113
Coaching Career:
Clayton McMillan coaching details:
2017 - Present: Head Coach, Maori All Blacks.
2017: Head Coach, NZ Provincial Barbarians.
2015 – Present: Present Head coach and director of rugby, Bay of Plenty Rugby Union.
2015 – 2020: Position specific coach, NZ U20s.
2014: Head coach, Wellington Rugby Union U19s.
Head coach, Wellington Rugby Union Academy.
Skills & Resource Coach, Wellington Rugby High Performance Group.
Winner, Wellington Rugby Representative Coach of the Year Award.
Champions, Inaugural U19s Jock Hobbs Memorial Cup.
2013: Forward Coach, Wellington Rugby Union U20s.
Skills and resource coach, Wellington Rugby High Performance Group.
Head Coach, NZ Police National Team.
2012: Head coach, Marist St Pats Premiers.
Skills and resource coach, Wellington Rugby High Performance Group.
Winner, Wellington Rugby Club Coach of the Year Award.
Champions, Wellington Rugby Jubilee Cup.
2011: Head coach, Marist St Pats Premiers.
2010: Head coach, Bay of Plenty Development. Skills coach, Bay of Plenty Steamers wider training group.
2009: Head coach, Bay of Plenty U20s. IRB Level 3 Advanced Coaching Course.
2008-2010: Regional selector, New Zealand U20s. IRB Level 1 and 2 Coaching Course.
2007-2009: Head coach, Whakarewarewa Premiers, Rotorua.
2003-2007: Professional Rugby Player/Coach, Coca Cola, Fukuoka Japan.

Bay of Plenty Steamers' 2020 Mitre 10 Cup Draw:
August 9: Taranaki vs Bay of Plenty, TET Stadium and Events Centre, Inglewood.
August 14: Bay of Plenty vs Southland, Rotorua International Stadium, Rotorua.
August 21: Wellington vs Bay of Plenty, Sky Stadium, Wellington.
August 27: Bay of Plenty vs Auckland, Rotorua International Stadium, Rotorua.
September 6: Tasman vs Bay of Plenty, Trafalgar Park, Nelson.
September 12: Manawatu vs Bay of Plenty, Central Energy Trust Arena, Palmerston North.
September 20: Bay of Plenty vs Canterbury, Tauranga Domain, Tauranga.
September 26: Bay of Plenty vs Hawke's Bay, Tauranga Domain, Tauranga.
October 4: Waikato vs Bay of Plenty, FMG Stadium Waikato, Hamilton.