Blues Coaching Debut: 2016
Other Coaching Roles: RC Toulonnais, Counties Manukau Steelers, Chiefs development team
Born in Wellington, Tana Umaga played rugby as a child until turning to league as a teenager in Wainuiomata and graduating to the Junior Kiwis team for two years before trying his hand across the Tasman.
He returned to New Zealand and rugby as a 20-year-old, and his rise became rapid. A year later he was selected for Wellington where he would become a centurion, a feat he also achieved in his career with the Hurricanes which included three years as captain.
Umaga gained his first All Black cap in 1997 and became a regular Test player from 1999. He would go on to earn 74 international caps and was captain for two years with an excellent record including winning 19 of 21 games in 2004, the 2005 Grand Slam and a clean sweep of the British and Irish Lions.
Umaga moved to France to become coach of RC Toulonnais for three years and then reverting to player-coach before heading back to New Zealand as player/assistant coach and then head coach of Counties Manukau. In that time he took the Steelers to the ITM Premiership and also their first ever successful challenge for the Ranfurly Shield in 2013 which they held for six defences through to 2014.
He has been part of Chiefs coaching establishment, guiding the development team, and this year was assistant coach of the New Zealand U20 team.
Umaga was awarded the Kelvin Tremain Memorial Trophy for New Zealand Player of the Year in 2000, an Officer of the New Zealand order of Merit in 2006 for his services to rugby and the Pierre de Coubertin medal from the Council of the International Fair Play Committee for outstanding sportsmanship.