23 Jun 2015

Umaga happy to get the Blues

11:47 am on 23 June 2015

The former All Blacks captain Tana Umaga has been named as the new Blues Super Rugby coach.

Umaga replaces Sir John Kirwan who decided to stand down last week after their worst Super rugby season with just three wins and finishing 14th.

Umaga has coached Counties-Manukau in the ITM Cup the last three years.

He has signed a three year deal with the Blues.

Umaga said he's excited at the opporunity but "understands there's a big challenge ahead."

Former All Black's captain Tana Umaga.

New Blues coach Tana Umaga. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

"There's no quick fix to turn things around. It is going to take a lot of very hard work which will be my focus. I want to let our performances on the field do the talking."

Umaga has enjoyed an impressive career on and off the field, as a centurion for Wellington, 122 caps for the Hurricanes and 74 appearances for the All Blacks including being a successful All Black captain.

He was a player-coach, head coach and director of rugby at Toulon in France for four seasons where he coached the team from the second division to be promoted to the Top 14 in his first year in charge and also to a European final.

It is widely recognised that he played a major role in where Toulon now sit as the one of the most successful teams in Europe.

In 2010 he returned to take up a coaching role at Counties Manukau where he again started as a player coach before moving into an assistant coaching role and then head coach.

He has been responsible for one of the most successful periods in Counties Manukau's history which included being promoted to the ITM Cup Premiership in his first year as Head Coach and winning the Ranfurly Shield for the first time in their history.

This year he has also been assistant coach of the New Zealand Under-20's who were undefeated at the recent Junior World Cup and won the final.