Super Rugby
Blues name Tana Umaga head coach
ESPN Staff
June 22, 2015
Tana Umaga has signed a three-year contract as head coach with the Blues © Getty Images

Former All Black captain Tana Umaga has been named the new head coach of the Blues for the 2016 season. His three-year appointment was confirmed by the Blues and New Zealand Rugby Union on Tuesday morning.

Umaga will take over the role after former coach Sir John Kiran stepped down from the role last week after another disappointing season at the helm of the Auckland franchise. The current coach of Counties Manakau, Umaga has enjoyed success as an ITM Cup coach as well the Director of Rugby at French glamour club Toulon.

Umaga said it was an honour to take up the role with the Blues.

"I am excited at the opportunity and of course understand there's a big challenge ahead for us all," said Umaga. "I know there are a lot of very good players signed on and I look forward to working with them.

"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."

Chairman, Tony Carter said the Blues are delighted to welcome Umaga as head coach, following unsatisfactory results in the 2015 Super Rugby season.

"The Board of the Blues has agreed unanimously that we have the right person for the job, and are thrilled Tana has accepted what we believe is both a hugely exciting opportunity and a massive challenge," he said. "We understand our fans and sponsors, along with everyone on and off the field in this club are not satisfied with our results especially this year."

Umaga enjoyed a successful career as a player, a centurion for Wellington, 122 caps for the Hurricanes and 74 appearances for the All Blacks including being a successful All Black captain. He also played a major role in the elevation of Toulon from second division Pro D2 into Top 14 and is widely recognised that he played a major role in here Toulon now sit as one of the most successful teams in Europe.

New Zealand Rugby Chief Executive Steve Tew welcomed Umaga's appointment.

"Tana is very well equipped to step up to this challenging role. He has spent valuable time in the ITM Cup environment with Counties Manukau, has coached at the top level in France and was part of the coaching team that steered New Zealand Under-20 to success in the recent World Championship," said Tew.

"He has made the successful transition from professional player to coach so is very aware of the demands on athletes and what it takes to succeed at the highest level of the game. We wish Tana all the best and will certainly ensure he has all the support he needs to allow him to make his mark."

Umaga will take up his position fulltime at the end of his duties with Counties Manukau in the ITM Cup this year.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd

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