Provincial Barbarians squad for opening match of DHL NZ Lions Series confirmed
New Zealand Provincial Barbarians coach Clayton McMillan has today confirmed the final selection of his squad to open the DHL NZ Lions Series on 3 June at Toll Stadium in Whangarei.
The squad is:
Aidan Ross (Bay of Plenty)
Tolu Fahamokioa (Wellington)
Sam Anderson-Heather (Otago)
Andrew Makalio (Tasman)
Marcel Renata (Auckland)
Oliver Jager (Canterbury)
Keepa Mewett (Bay of Plenty)
Joshua Goodhue (Northland)
James Tucker (Waikato)
Mitchell Dunshea (Canterbury)
Lachlan Boshier (Taranaki)
Matthew Matich (Northland)
Peter Rowe (Wanganui)
Jack Stratton (Canterbury)
Richard Judd (Bay of Plenty)
Bryn Gatland (North Harbour)
Dwayne Sweeney (Waikato)
Kaveinga Finau (Inga) (Canterbury)
Jonah Lowe (Hawke’s Bay)
Sevuloni Reece (Waikato)
Sam Vaka (Counties Manukau)
Luteru Laulala (Counties Manukau)
Junior Ngaluafe (Southland)
The final selection includes several changes from the original team announcement last month, with a number of players involved in Investec Super Rugby action.
“It’s great to see provincial players make the step-up to Super Rugby and put in some impressive performances,” said McMillan.
“While we would have loved to have them involved in our campaign we recognise they are needed elsewhere but our coaching group is confident we have selected a strong group of players who will relish this opportunity to take on the British & Irish Lions.”
Experienced campaigner Dwayne Sweeney comes into the midfield, alongside former All Blacks Sevens player Sam Vaka.
Sweeney has signed for Waikato in 2017 and is set to add to his 77 provincial caps already earned for the Mooloos.
Super Rugby experience will be injected into the forward pack with Andrew Makalio, Oliver Jager, James Tucker, Mitch Dunshea and Lachlan Boshier set to bring more strength up front.
“We have put in a lot of planning to get to this point and are looking forward to spending time as a group and see it all come together.
“This is a huge occasion for our players and management and I know everyone is eager to get things underway and create history,” said McMillan.
The squad assembles on Saturday and will travel by bus to Whangarei on Sunday. They will be welcomed to the city with a Powhiri on Monday and are set to get out into the community later in the week with some school visits scheduled.
Players unavailable due to Super Rugby commitments: Hame Haiva (Blues), Quentin Strange (Crusaders), Mitch Brown (Chiefs), Heiden Bedwell Curtis (Chiefs), Jonathan Taumateine (Chiefs), Johnny Fa’auli (Chiefs).