Former All Blacks great Tana Umaga unveiled as new coach of Moana Pasifika

Fa’alogo Tana Umaga is returning to the Super Rugby head coaching ranks.

Umaga has been unveiled as the new Moana Pasifika coach, taking over from Aaron Mauger. He has signed a three-year contract from 2024 to 2026.

The former All Blacks captain, who coached Moana Pasifika in their debut match against the Māori All Blacks in 2020, said: “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.”

Moana Pasifika chair La’auli Savae Sir Michael Jones said: “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.”

Born to Samoan parents and hailing from Wainuiomata, Umaga made 122 Super Rugby appearances for the Hurricane and amassed 74 test caps for the All Blacks, captaining them on 22 ocassions.

His coaching career includes stints at Toulon in France, Counties Manukau and the Blues, where he was head coach from 2016 to 2018 before stepping back as an assistant coach to Leon MacDonald. He has been with Manu Samoa since 2021.