Tana Umaga to coach on the international stage

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Tana Umaga has led the Counties Steelers successfully and now he has an opportunity to coach internationally

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Three former All Blacks, including Counties Manukau Steelers head coach, Tana Umaga, will lead the 2015 New Zealand Under 20 IRB Junior World Championship campaign in Italy this year.

Canterbury’s Scott Robertson, who coached Canterbury last year to an ITM Cup premiership win, is head coach.

With him will be ITM Cup coaches and former All Black team mates, Leon MacDonald, assistant coach to Tasman, and Tana Umaga.

Robertson has been a a passionate and highly motivated member of the New Zealand under 20 coaching team for several years.

Tana has been magic for Counties”

When the management team was announced late last year, Neil Sorenson, New Zealand Rugby Union’s GM Rugby, said: Scott will be joined by two exciting coaching talents in Leon and Tana. As ITM Cup coaches, they have developed a keen eye for identifying and working with young and emerging talent in their respective provinces.”

“Leon has been part of the Tasman Makos campaign and we saw them win last year’s
ITM Cup Championship, and a promotion into this year’s Premiership division. This was followed by a remarkable season culminating in the Premiership final against the eventual winners, Taranaki.

“Tana has just been magic for Counties Manukau since his very first season when the
Steelers earned the coveted Premiership promotion by winning the 2012 ITM Cup
Championship.

“All three bring a unique perspective to coaching, having played at the highest level.” Scott Robertson said he was delighted with his appointment and he was excited about working with MacDonald and Umaga.

“Those two bring a huge amount of experience with them. Both are highly respected by the players and they bring great knowledge to their areas of expertise – Leon with attack, Tana with defence and in particular counter-attack.

 Keen to ensure the All Black legacy continues

“Working with this age group is a real honour for us. We know how much it means to pull on a black jersey and we are keen to ensure the legacy and the heritage of the jersey continues to be represented well by the young men we select.

“For that reason, critical for us right now, is to get the selection right – and that work is already under way as we prepare to name players for our first development camp. later this month.

“There is some great talent out there and we got to see some of that on display at the
Jock Hobbs Memorial National Under 19 tournament in Taupo.

“That was an invaluable way to see boys playing in an environment similar to a
JWC tournament – six games in a condensed window and playing against others of a
similar age and playing experience.

“That was a great platform for identifying potential talent.”

“Our campaign planning is well progressed and I’m very excited about the challenge
ahead for us,” Robertson said.

The New Zealand Under 20 management team is: head coach – Scott Robertson; assistant coach – Leon MacDonald; assistant coach – Tana Umaga; manager – Paul Galletta; doctor – Lynne Coleman; physiotherapist – Damian Banks; strength and conditioning coach – Iain Cleland; performance analyst – Brodie Hewlett.

The team manager, Paul Galetta (Waikato), physio, Damian Banks
(Tauranga) and performance analyst, Brodie Hewlett (Tasman) are new appointments.

Tournament begins on June 2

This year’s tournament, the eighth since its inception, will be played in Italy between June 2 and June 20,the second time that country has hosted the World Under 20 Championship.

Twelve nations will contest the title, won last year by England in New Zealand, and four regions will be involved. Parma, Viadana and Calvasino will host pool pool matches, with the latter two hosting semi-finals. Cremona will host the final and two of the remaining positional play-offs with Calvasino hosting the others.

The pools are: A – England, France, Japan, Wales; B – Australia, Italy, South Africa, Samoa; C – Agentina, Ireland, New Zealand, Scotland.

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About the Author
Rex Warwood is a well-known local with a passion for Franklin and its people. He has been spreading the news in our area since 1979 and has held various journalism and Editor positions. Contact Rex at rex.warwood@welovepukekohe.com.

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