Leon McDonald

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On Thursday, Leon MacDonald was named head coach of the All Blacks XV – essentially New Zealand’s B team – for their November games in Europe against Ireland A and the Barbarians.

The senior All Blacks begin their tour of Japan, Wales, Scotland and England in October, while Macdonald will play against New Zealand next month in Europe.

“It’s an honor to coach any team with a silver fern on their jersey,” McDonald said.

The 44-year-old has played 56 Tests for New Zealand and is currently the head coach of the Blues’ Super Rugby team.

The All Blacks XV will play Ireland A in Dublin on November 4 before taking on an invitational side, the Barbarians, coached by Crusaders boss Scott Robertson, at London’s Tottenham Hotspur Stadium nine days later.

Macdonald expects to pick players on the fringes of the senior New Zealand side for what will be the first All Blacks XV under the new brand.

“I am looking forward to coaching a strong team for two tough matches,” he added.

“This team represents New Zealand on the world stage, especially as the first group to wear the All Blacks XV jersey.”

The All Blacks XV used to be called the Junior All Blacks or New Zealand A.

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