April 18, 2023

McMillan to lead Gallagher Chiefs through to 2026

Gallagher Chiefs head coach Clayton McMillan has extended his contract with the Chiefs Rugby Club through to 2026.

McMillan has taken the team from strength to strength since taking over the reins from Warren Gatland in 2021. He inherited a young side that made it to the Super Rugby Aotearoa final in his first season and the semi-finals of Super Rugby Pacific in 2022.

The Gallagher Chiefs and Māori All Blacks head coach said: “It was an easy decision to extend my current contract with the Chiefs Rugby Club and New Zealand Rugby.

“We have an incredible staff, coaching and management team, and playing roster who are aspirational and care deeply about the people and region we represent.

“It is rewarding to work in this organisation. My family and I are grateful for the opportunity to keep playing a part in it."

While McMillan is excited about the immediate future of the Gallagher Chiefs, his primary focus remains firmly in the present.

“We have a very young squad who have been through some adversity, learned some valuable lessons, and that is serving us well now and will do into the future. We are well advanced in our recruitment for the years ahead and I am excited to be a part of that journey," said McMillan.

"But for now – our focus is firmly on improving our game week to week and hopefully pulling it all together when it really matters at the back end of this season."

The Gallagher Chiefs, one of the youngest sides in the DHL Super Rugby Pacific competition, remain unbeaten after sevens rounds and sit at the top of the table with the Brumbies following their win over the Hurricanes last weekend.

Chiefs Rugby Club CEO Simon Graafhuis said: "We are obviously extremely pleased with the early contract extension with Clayton. He is a fantastic coach and individual who we believe will have a significant impact on the Gallagher Chiefs squad, Chiefs Rugby Club and New Zealand Rugby into the future.

“Having world-class people in the Chiefs organisation is crucial for our future success. Clayton and his coaching team have a unique ability to create a connection and special culture within the playing group and management team.

“We are starting to see the benefit of consistency of coaching group and playing squad, so locking in Clayton and some of the key playing talent provides us with certainty into the future."

McMillan, a former Police Officer, was a successful player in his own right, running out for Bay of Plenty over 100 times before becoming the Steamers' head coach, guiding them to the Mitre 10 Cup title in 2019.

In 2017 McMillan became head coach for the Māori All Blacks and in 2022 joined the All Blacks XV coaching team as an assistant coach for the Northern Tour.

This week, the Gallagher Chiefs will face the Fijian Drua at home on Friday night. The Anzac remembrance-themed game will kick off at 7.05pm.

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McMillan to lead Gallagher Chiefs through to 2026