Umaga open to Super Rugby return
September 19, 2010
Tana Umaga is open to a possible Super Rugby return © Getty Images
Former All Blacks skipper Tana Umaga has refused to rule out the possibility of a return to Super Rugby next season.
The 37-year-old is currently player-coach at ITM Cup side Counties Manukau, having returned to New Zealand this year following a successful stint with Top 14 side Toulon.
There he rekindled his playing career in order to help the club stave off relegation and he has helped to inspire a turnaround in fortunes for Counties since his arrival. He played his last game of Super Rugby in 2007, for the Hurricanes.
Whether any New Zealand franchises have room on their roster for Umaga remains to be seen and the 74-cap All Black is remaining philosophical on the subject.
"I haven't counted it out at all," Umaga told Rugby News. "If anything comes, it comes. But if not, that's the way it is."
One person who believes that Umaga would be a prized catch for a Super Rugby side is Counties head coach Milton Haig, who reserved the highest praise for his assistant.
"Sign him up as quick as you can," Haig told stuff.co.nz. "If they want someone who's a cool head with all that experience, a former All Black captain who's played over 300 first-class games and is going to help everyone around him grow, then I couldn't think of anyone better, really.
"He makes good decisions on the park under pressure and he leads people around. If you look at the Super Rugby landscape there are a lot of 20 to 21 year olds. That experience he brings would help any franchise. The detail he sees in the analysis area is incredible. He sees stuff us mere mortals don't. And these days 90% of your work is done off the field."
As Scotland decides its future, Scrum Sevens looks at a group of players who transcended rugby both for country and the British & Irish Lions
Ahead of November's USA-All Blacks match, America's ESPN Magazine explains rugby to its readers who may not be familiar with the game
Tom Hamilton talks to World Cup-winning captain John Smit about life after rugby, his fears over the South African exodus and the World Cup