Tana Umaga

Tana Umaga names experienced Moana Pasifika squad

The Fiji, Samoa and Tonga combined team will play the Māori All Blacks in Hamilton next month.

Moana Pasifika is one of the preferred partners to join Super Rugby in 2022.

The inaugural squad includes nine players with Test experience and another three who have played international sevens.

One-test All Black Josh Ioane will lead the backline that also includes Super Rugby players Leicester Fainga'anuku from Tasman and the Hurricanes winger Salesi Rayasi, who has been one oif the star players for Auckland this season.

Blues assistant coach Tana Umaga puts pen to paper in new deal with franchise

This brings Umaga into line with the rest of the Blues coaching group of head coach Leon MacDonald, forwards coach Tom Coventry and backs/skills coach Daniel Halangahu.

Umaga joined the Blues as head coach in 2016 before stepping into the defence coaching role for a two-year deal in 2019, with the additional year ensuring his contract comes up for renewal alongside the rest of the Blues coaching team after the 2021 season.

Tana Umaga stands down as Blues coach

He is to be replaced by Leon MacDonald for a three-year stint. Umaga will stay on and take up a two-year contract as defensive coach.

Umaga's contract was extended in May to 2019, but the changes have been put in place after an end-of-season review with the Blues and NZ Rugby Boards.

Umaga said his passion lies with being the defence coach.

"I believe that is where I can make the greatest contribution and difference at the Blues," he said in a statement.

Tana Umaga and Brian O'Driscoll bury the hatchet

O'Driscoll admitted he still carries regrets over the fallout from Umaga and Keven Mealamu's off the ball tackle that left him with a dislocated shoulder and ended his tour of New Zealand just 41 seconds into the first Test in 2005.

Some 13 years after the flashpoint, the former Ireland and New Zealand captains sat down together in Dublin - to draw a line under the incident, and the aftershocks, once and for all.

Umaga contract extension 'preferred option'

With the Blues struggles from recent years continuing in 2018 and former All Blacks captain Umaga in the last year of his contract, speculation has been mounting as to whether he will stay in the role with the franchise.

Addressing media at the team's headquarters in Auckland on Tuesday, Redman said they hoped to confirm their coaching team for 2019 in the next few weeks but indicated Umaga was in the box seat.

"It's fair to say there is plenty of support for Tana within New Zealand Rugby and the Blues.

Tana Umaga wants answers from refs boss

Francis is expected to miss Friday's match against the Chiefs at Eden Park due to concussion after copping an errant swinging arm from Stormers second five-eighth Shaun Treeby on the chin in the 47th minute.

Speaking after the 30-22 loss which probably ends the Blues' playoff hopes, Umaga said the team doctor confirmed Francis was unconscious as a result of the blow. The first-five was taken from the field and replaced by Bryn Gatland.

Blues driven for success

Tana Umaga's men meet their first South African opponents of the Super Rugby season in Albany on Saturday night when they host the Bulls.

At 1-3, with just six competition points in the red-hot New Zealand conference, it's a matchup the under-achieving Auckland outfits are desperate to win.

After starting with a big victory in Melbourne, the Blues have now dropped three straight, to the Chiefs (41-26), Highlanders (16-12) and Crusaders (33-24) to ease back near the foot of the Kiwi group.

When will Sonny Bill Williams return?

Williams is still recovering from surgery on his achilles that he snapped during his campaign with the New Zealand Sevens team at the Rio Olympics.

The 31-year-old was training with the squad today and wants to be back playing by week six of the competition but his coach is keeping his cards close to his chest.

"I think our medical staffs are really mindful of loading too much on him too early.

Tana Umaga's nephew Jacob starring for England and coming on to Eddie Jones' radar

The 18-year-old is making rapid gains in Britain, starring for the England under-20 team and already being talked off as a future test player.

The son of former Samoan player, Mike Umaga, Jacob was born in Britain after his family moved there.

He's a No 10 who can play centre and he's making rapid gains, having also played for England at under-18s and touch rugby. He's now with the Wasps club.

He loves his Polynesian roots but plays down his famous surname.

"A few people put more pressure on me because of the name," Umaga told the Daily Mail.