The New Zealand Provincial Barbarians management team has been announced 99 days out from the first match of the DHL NZ Lions Series 2017.
Bay of Plenty’s Clayton McMillan spearheads the coaching team and will be assisted by Roger Randle (Waikato) and Joe Maddock (Canterbury). The team will be managed by Chris Back (Wanganui) and is rounded out with Northland support staff; Jed Smethurst (Physio), Tim Hurst (Strength & Conditioning) and Conlin Locke (Doctor).
The Barbarians side will be selected from a pool of Provincial Union players across the country and assemble for one week leading into the fixture on June 3 in Whangarei.
McMillan said the opportunity to add to the Barbarians legacy has his management team 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 & Irish Lions.
Ron Williams, President of New Zealand Barbarian Rugby Club said it was fitting that the Barbarians would open the Series.
“The New Zealand Barbarian Rugby 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.”
Clayton McMillan Background
McMillan, a Bay of Plenty centurion, transitioned into coaching 15 years ago, while finishing up his playing day in Fukuoka, Japan. Since returning to New Zealand he has held several age group and club roles in both Bay of Plenty and Wellington before taking the reins in his home province in 2015.