B&I Lions' tour opener a Gatland family affair
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: The opening clash of the British and Irish Lions' New Zealand tour will be a family affair for coach Warren Gatland after his son Bryn was named Wednesday to face the tourists.
The blockbuster tour kicks off on June 3 in Whangarei with a match against Provincial Barbarians, who have included promising flyhalf Bryn Gatland in their squad.
Gatland, 21, plays for North Harbour in the New Zealand domestic competition and is on the verge of making his Super Rugby debut for the Blues this year.
Provincial Barbarians coach Clayton McMillan said the 19-man squad, which will be supplemented by more players closer to the match, was a mixture of youth and experience.
"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," he said.
The Lions also play all five New Zealand Super Rugby teams, the Maori All Blacks and three Tests against New Zealand during the gruelling tour.
Gatland senior, a New Zealander, is hoping to guide them to their first Test series win in New Zealand since 1971.
He coached the Lions to a 2-1 series win over Australia in 2013, but his Wales team were thrashed 3-0 when they toured New Zealand last year.
The former hooker actually played against the Lions himself when Waikato humiliated the tourists 38-10 in 1993, scoring a try.
Provincial Barbarians squad:
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).