"Former All Blacks Captain" Moana Pasifika Appoint Tana Umaga as New Head Coach - Ruck

“Former All Blacks Captain” Moana Pasifika Appoint Tana Umaga as New Head Coach

Super Rugby side Moana Pasifika have announced that legendary All Black Tana Umaga will takeover as Head Coach. The former New Zealand captain steps into the role following the exit of Aaron Mauger, after just three wins in two Super Rugby seasons.

Umaga takes over Pasifika on a three year deal, and makes his return to the side having previusly taken an interim Head Coach role for the team’s first match. Umaga took the reigns of the side for their debut fixture against the Maori All Blacks back in 2020, yet this ended in a 28-21 Pasifika defeat.

“I’ve always held a special place for Moana Pasifika since its inception, and I’m deeply honoured for this opportunity to take up the reins again as head coach,” Umaga said to the New Zealand Herald.

“From their first game Moana Pasifika have shown flair and ability to contest with the calibre teams of the Super Rugby Pacific competition. I’m excited to progress their journey in 2024.”

The former All Blacks centre is considered amongst the greatest to ever wear the black jersey, and he has also boasts an impressive coaching resume. Umaga has previously held a player-coach role in France with Toulon and then at Counties Manukau in the New Zealand National Provincial Championship.

He has also previously held the Head Coach role with the Blues from 2016 to 2018, before continuing as Defence Coach of the Auckland club. Moana Pasifika Chairman La’auli Savae Sir Michael Jones believes that Umaga is the ‘embodiment of Moana Pasifika’.

“We are delighted to appoint Tana Umaga as Head Coach, who as the first All Black Captain of Pasifika descent and a significant history of coaching both at international and Super Rugby level, brings a wealth of experience and mana to the role.

“Tana also provides direct connections to our Pacific home nations given his current coaching role with Manu Samoa which supports the ambition of Moana Pasifika to provide high performance pathways for players who want to represent Pacific Island nations.”

“Tana is the embodiment of Moana Pasifika and all that we stand for, our dreams and aspirations. His ability to mentor and develop his charges on and off the field is an invaluable asset for our programme, we are extremely excited for what the future holds for Moana Pasifika under Tana’s guidance and influence.