Cape Town - Bay
of Plenty Mitre 10 Cup boss Clayton McMillan has been appointed head
coach of the Maori All Blacks, New Zealand Rugby announced on Monday.
McMillan’s appointment follows an impressive campaign with the New
Zealand Provincial Barbarians who opened the British and Irish Lions
tour in Whangarei this year.
He fills the position vacated by Colin Cooper, who has stepped down to focus on 2018 Super Rugby duties with the Chiefs.
New Zealand Rugby Maori Board chairperson Dr Farah Palmer welcomed
McMillan’s appointment as an exciting new phase in Maori rugby.
"This is really exciting for Maori rugby," she told the Maori All Blacks' official website.
"We are looking forward to having Clayton lead the Maori All Blacks
as he is a talented coach with a track record of developing players and
developing great team culture.
"His work with the New Zealand Provincial Barbarians in the lead up
to their match against the British & Irish Lions was outstanding and
I expect he will bring the same strong work and cultural ethic to this
McMillan, a Bay of Plenty centurion, transitioned into coaching 15 years ago, while finishing professional rugby in 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.
"The Maori All Blacks team has a very strong identity with an
exciting style of rugby, and special cultural base," said McMillan.
"I want to ensure that it continues to provide a pathway for players wanting higher honours.
"This is a very proud moment for myself and my family. My vision for
this team is to continue to build on the legacy that has been carved out
for this team.
"I want to ensure that we take a holistic approach to our work with
this team; that players can play great rugby in this environment and
that they can celebrate who they are as Maori."
McMillan will lead the Maori All Blacks on a two-match programme in the Northern Hemisphere in November.