14 Sep 2016

Umaga and Hoeft join Maori All Blacks

4:35 pm on 14 September 2016

The former All Blacks captain Tana Umaga's rise through the coaching ranks continued on Wednesday with his appointment as an assistant coach of the Maori All Blacks for their end of season tour.

Blues coach Tana Umaga has been appointed to the Maori All Blacks coaching staff

Blues coach Tana Umaga has been appointed to the Maori All Blacks coaching staff Photo: Photosport

The 43-year-old Umaga will join coach Colin Cooper for the November tour, which includes an international against the United States in Chicago, Irish side Munster and English club Harlequins.

Former All Blacks prop Carl Hoeft has also joined Cooper as assistant forwards coach.

Carl Hoeft

Carl Hoeft Photo: Photosport

"I'm delighted to have Tana and Carl join us," Cooper said in a statement. "Their mix of specific coaching skills and insight as former players adds huge value to the work we are doing around this team.

"Tana brings a certain mana to our team -- he understands the professional rugby environment well and brings a strong high performance approach to his work."

Umaga, who captained the All Blacks 21 times in 2004-05 before he quit test rugby after 74 caps, moved to France where he played for, then coached, Toulon.

He returned to New Zealand as an assistant coach at provincial side Counties Manukau in 2010.

The former All Blacks centre took over as head coach at Counties in 2012 before he was appointed coach of Super Rugby's Auckland Blues last year.

The Blues, who have struggled in recent years, showed signs of resurgence under Umaga in 2016, winning eight of their 15 games, though they still finished last in the highly competitive New Zealand conference.


Friday 4 November v USA Eagles, Toyota Park, Chicago

Friday 11 November v Munster, Thomond Park, Limerick

Wednesday 16 November v Harlequins, Twickenham Stoop, London.