Super Rugby: Clayton McMillan hoping for happy homecoming in ‘battle of scrappers’ in Perth

Chiefs coach Clayton McMillan said it was important they shared the load on the national skipper. Picture: STUFF SPORTS.

Chiefs coach Clayton McMillan is hoping his side’s long trek to Perth can make for a happy homecoming in what he terms will be a ‘battle of the scrappers’ against the Western Force on Saturday night.

With a hideous schedule, compounded by making the final of Super Rugby Aotearoa, which will see the Chiefs play 10, or even 11, matches in as many weeks, you can bet none of their squad were exactly jumping for joy at the prospect of boarding an eight-hour flight for their Super Rugby Trans-Tasman opener.

For McMillan, though, the rigours of a long-haul flight, coming fresh off the pain of last weekend’s final defeat to the Crusaders, at least have positives attached.

“I have a personal soft spot over there,” he said. “I was born there, got a lot of family there. And I often spend my summers over there just catching up with family. So it’s going to be great to lead a team over there.”

McMillan, whose Australian mother died of cancer when he was six months old, was in Perth until the age of three, when his father then chose to move back to New Zealand. McMillan was then chiefly raised by his aunty, Marlene, in Rotorua.

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