AUCKLAND (Reuters) - Bryn Gatland will face his father Warren’s British and Irish Lions side after being named to start at flyhalf for the New Zealand Provincial Barbarians in the tour opener in Whangarei on Saturday.
The younger Gatland could potentially face the Lions again next week if he is named in the Auckland Blues squad for their clash against the tourists at Eden Park on June 7.
After naming his own squad for the match, the Lions coach said he was looking forward to his side playing his son.
”I spoke to him last night and he has been enjoying the week,“ Gatland told reporters in Auckland. ”He can expect to make a few tackles on the weekend.
“He’s pretty excited about the opportunity ...and I am looking forward to see how he goes.”
The Barbarians are made up of players from New Zealand’s semi-professional provincial competition but several have Super Rugby experience.
It is the only game on the 10-match tour where the Lions do not face a fully professional team.
The Barabarians only assembled last Sunday before relocating to Whangarei.
“When we first looked at putting together a squad, the initial process was around understanding what sort of game we wanted to play and the type of player that would meet the profile of that game plan,” coach Clayton McMillan said in a statement.
“It’s always going to be pretty hard when you are bringing a group together from four corners of New Zealand but from what I can see and the feedback we’ve got, the boys have come together really well.”
Otago hooker Sam Anderson-Heather will lead the side that includes veteran centre Dwayne Sweeney, who played six seasons for twice Super Rugby champions Waikato Chiefs and also appeared for the Maori All Blacks.
Barbarians: 15-Luteru Laulala, 14-Sam Vaka, 13-Inga Finau, 12-Dwayne Sweeney, 11-Sevu Reece, 10-Bryn Gatland, 9-Jack Stratton, 8-Mitchell Dunshea, 7-Lachlan Boshier, 6-James Tucker, 5-Keepa Mewett, 4-Josh Goodhue, 3-Oliver Jager, 2-Sam Anderson-Heather (captain), 1-Aidan Ross.
Replacements: 16-Andrew Makalio, 17-Tolu Fahamokoia, 18-Marcel Renata, 19-Matt Matich, 20-Peter Rowe, 21-Richard Judd, 22-Jonah Lowe, 23-Junior Ngaluafe.
Reporting by Greg Stutchbury in Wellington; Editing by Ian Ransom