Leon MacDonald named head coach for All Blacks XV Northern tour

Source: 1News

Blues coach Leon MacDonald has been appointed to lead the newly-formed All Blacks XV for their upcoming two-match tour in the UK in November.

Opposing coaches Leon MacDonald and Scott Robertson played together for the Crusaders in the Super Rugby final defeat to the Blues in 2003.

MacDonald will coach the side for their matches against Ireland A in Dublin and the Barbarians in London with Clayton McMillan and Scott Hansen joining him as assistants.

"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," said MacDonald.

The All Blacks XV was launched as the NZR's new approach to a senior national representative team aside from the All Blacks that will serve as a crucial pathway to the top side.

The team follows similar squads of the past such as New Zealand A and the Emerging Players sides.

"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," MacDonald added.

MacDonald's appointment sets up a replay of sorts from this year's Super Rugby Pacific final with Crusaders coach Scott Robertson coaching the Barbarians for the match.

All Blacks coach Ian Foster and his fellow selectors will name the All Blacks XV squad, although he expects there to be minimal crossover of players between his and MacDonald's teams.

"The quality of these matches will present an ideal challenge and opportunity to experience different playing styles and get exposure to overseas touring," said NZR head of high performance Mike Anthony.

"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."

All Blacks XV Northern Tour:

November 4: vs Ireland A, RDS Arena, Dublin

November 13: vs Barbarians, Tottenham Stadium, London