Umaga To Coach Maori All Blacks Against Munster
14th September 2016 By Munster Rugby
Former All Blacks captain and current Blues coach Tana Umaga has been announced as an Assistant Coach of the Maori All Blacks for their November tour that includes a clash against Munster in Thomond Park on Friday, November 11.
Head Coach Colin Cooper, who is also in charge of Taranaki, will be joined by Umaga and Waikato Forwards Coach Carl Hoeft, who has been appointed Assistant Forwards Coach.
And Cooper is thrilled with the new additions to the coaching team. “I’m delighted to have Tana and Carl join us,” said Head Coach Cooper. “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. There’s no doubting the knowledge that Carl brings to the forward pack so it’s great to have him on board as well.”
Cooper added: “The Maori All Blacks is a special team and it's important that we can access great high performance coaching skills.”
The Maori All Blacks squad will be named next month and Umaga, who is of Samoan heritage, is looking forward to getting started.
“With my own Samoan background, the cultures are very similar and I know, having been around a lot of the Maori culture in my upbringing, how important it is and the respect it deserves. I'm really excited about the opportunity,” Umaga said.
“I like that expansive game. Obviously my brief there is around the back play and attack so I want to make sure that we're keeping true to the values of Maori rugby. But also trying to add to it, to upskill the players as much as we can in the short, limited time that we have.”
Umaga was coached by Cooper during the latter years of his time with the Hurricanes and is looking forward to linking up with him again.
“It's a great opportunity for me to get back with Colin and also evolve as a coach. That's what I'm looking forward to as well.
“I've been in contact with Colin for a while. I did drop the hint that 'if you were ever looking for a coach I would be very keen to do it' and it just so happened that I did get a phone call back so that was great,” Umaga said.
The Maori All Blacks face Munster in Thomond Park on Friday, November 11.
Tickets are now on sale and can be purchased online here, from the Munster Rugby Ticket Offices in Irish Independent Park and Thomond Park, or by calling 061 421103 / 0818 719 300.
Adults: €;40 Cat A, €;30 Cat B, €;25 Cat C, €;20 East/West Terrace, €;15 South Terrace.
Juniors: €;20 Cat A, €;10 Cat B/C, €;7 Terrace.
Family tickets (2 Adults/2 Jnrs): From €;40.
Club Offer: 5 Adults & 20 Juniors in the North Terrace €;100.