Leon McDonald named to coach All Blacks XV
Leon MacDonald has been announced as Head Coach of the All Blacks XV and will guide the team on a two-match end-of-year tour.
Clayton McMillan and Scott Hansen were announced as Assistant Coaches of the team.
MacDonald, who played 56-Tests for the All Blacks, and is the current Head Coach of the Blues Super Rugby team, said the tour would provide a huge challenge and a valuable experience for the players selected.
“It’s an honour to coach any team with the silver fern on the jersey and I’m looking forward to coaching a strong squad for what will be two tough matches. This team is representing New Zealand on the world stage and we will be taking that responsibility very seriously, particularly as the first group to wear the All Blacks XV jersey.”
The match against the Barbarians will be played on November 13 at the 62 000 capacity Tottenham Stadium, the home venue for English Premier League football side Tottenham Hotspur. While the Ireland A match will be played in front of a passionate Dublin crowd at RDS Arena on November 4.
NZR Head of High-Performance Mike Anthony said: “The quality of these matches will present an ideal challenge and opportunity to experience different playing styles and get exposure to overseas touring. To play against international opposition, in front of large, passionate crowds is invaluable for our next tier of talent a year out from RWC 2023.”
NZR has formed an exclusive partnership with sports promotion company Rugby Live (RL) to arrange the All Blacks XV matches. NZR has worked with RL on previous occasions including two All Blacks Tests in Chicago, one All Blacks Test in Washington DC and the UK Barbarians match in 2017.
“The All Blacks XV will be a world-class, competitive team that we believe will be a drawcard for overseas rugby fans wanting to watch players with the skills, passion and pride that are the hallmark of rugby teams representing New Zealand. We are excited about taking the All Blacks XV to the world,” Rugby Live CEO Ben Dunn said.
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