Umaga to join Counties Manukau
March 15, 2010
Tana Umaga is set to return to New Zealand © Getty Images
Former All Black skipper Tana Umaga will return to New Zealand rugby with Counties Manukau.
Umaga has signed on as player-assistant coach with the Air New Zealand Cup side for the next two years, having spent the last three seasons coaching Toulon in France's Top 14.
Umaga, who was capped 74 times by his country, was keen to return home in order to be closer to his family and will be partly responsible for developing young players.
"The board took action as soon as we became aware that Tana was looking to return home to further his coaching career and be closer to his family," Counties chief executive Phil McConnell said. "Tana Umaga is a perfect match for Counties Manakau. His mana, experience, professionalism and dedication are precisely what we need to take our team to the next level."
Umaga briefly ended his playing retirement in 2009 when Toulon were fighting relegation and has been keeping fit with an eye on his return to New Zealand.
"My family and I are excited to be returning home, and I am looking forward to the challenge that lies ahead," he said.
Firdose Moonda talks to Rob Louw about the difficulties of being a South African touring New Zealand at the height of Apartheid
Huw Richards profiles French forward Walter Spanghero, a man who even rugby's hard men thought was a tough nut
"To be part of the Commonwealth Games, I'd wear anything. I'd wear a clown suit." Tom Hamilton talks to Scotland's Sean Lamont
Scrum Sevens looks back at how rugby has fared in both the early Olympics and the past four Commonwealth Games