NZ Provincial Barbarians confirm squad
LIONS TOUR SPOTLIGHT: New Zealand Provincial Barbarians coach Clayton McMillan confirmed the final selection of his squad to open the British and Irish Lions' tour of New Zealand on June 3 in Whangarei.
The final selection includes several changes from the original team announcement, with a number of players involved in Super Rugby action.
"It's great to see provincial players make the step-up to Super Rugby and put in some impressive performances.
"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," McMillan said.
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," he added.
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).
New Zealand Provincial Barbarians:
Forwards: Aidan Ross, Tolu Fahamokioa, Sam Anderson-Heather, Andrew Makalio, Marcel Renata, Oliver Jager, Keepa Mewett, Joshua Goodhue, James Tucker, Mitchell Dunshea, Lachlan Boshier, Matthew Matich, Peter Rowe.
Backs: Jack Stratton, Richard Judd, Bryn Gatland, Dwayne Sweeney, Kaveinga Finau, Jonah Lowe, Sevuloni Reece, Sam Vaka, Luteru Laulala, Junior Ngaluafe.