Gatland to face Gatland in opener

Date published: April 12 2017

All corners of New Zealand will be represented when the New Zealand Provincial Barbarians open the British and Irish Lions series in June.

Provincial Barbarians coach Clayton McMillan has named the core of the squad for the series opener, which features an exciting mix of players from 15 different provinces.

All Mitre 10 Cup Unions and Heartland Championship and Meads Cup Champions Wanganui are represented with veteran skipper and Barbarians Club member Peter Rowe, set to add to his already impressive rugby CV.

"It was important to us in selecting this team that it was truly representative of New Zealand," McMillan told the All Blacks website.

"It wasn’t an easy task, the amount of talent considered is testament to how strong New Zealand rugby is now. We believe we have found a mix of upcoming players and hardened provincial stalwarts to make an exciting team.

"We have picked the base of a team that is capable of playing an entertaining brand of rugby which fits with the BaaBaas tradition of innovation and flair and playing with pure guts and heart."

Of the 19 players named, 13 have previously donned the black jersey for either New Zealand Schools, New Zealand U20s or Maori All Blacks.

The remainder of the squad will be confirmed closer to the team’s assembly in Whangarei on May 28, as coaches monitor player progress across the country.

Four of the forwards boast Super Rugby experience, as well as exciting Taranaki midfielder Johnny Fa’auli who has made several appearances for the Chiefs in 2017.

It will be a family affair for North Harbour fly-half Bryn Gatland who comes up against a British and Irish Lions side coached by his father Warren Gatland.

Local fans in Whangarei will be able to celebrate Northland players Josh Goodhue and Matt Matich playing at home at Toll Stadium.

Forwards: Aiden Ross (Bay of Plenty), Tolu Fahamokioa (Wellington), Sam Anderson-Heather (Otago), Epalahame Faiva (Waikato), Marcel Renata (Auckland), Quinten Strange (Tasman), Joshua Goodhue (Northland), Heiden Bedwell-Curtis (Manawatu), Mitchell Brown (Taranaki), Matthew Matich (Northland), Peter Rowe (Wanganui)

Backs: Jonathan Taumateine (Counties Manukau), Jack Stratton (Canterbury), Bryn Gatland (North Harbour), Jonathan Fa’auli (Taranaki), Jonah Lowe (Hawke’s Bay), Sevuloni Reece (Waikato), Luteru Laulala (Counties Manukau), Junior Ngaluafe (Southland)

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