Rugby: Umaga stays with Counties

Tana Umaga. Photo / Getty Images
Tana Umaga. Photo / Getty Images

Former All Black captain Tana Umaga has decided his coaching future lies in South Auckland by re-signing with the current Ranfurly Shield holders Counties Manukau until 2016.

Umaga was happy to extend his contract as coach of the Steelers.

"There is still a lot I want to achieve at this union. I thoroughly enjoy the environment, the people and the culture we have at Counties,'' he said in a statement.

"Counties Manukau is well known for the talent pool it produces and I take great pride in the challenge of developing young players so they can go on to higher honours.''

The press release from Counties confirming the news this morning came shortly after the Hurricanes announced Mark Hammett wouldn't continue as their coach past this season.

Umaga, who forged a lengthy playing career in the capital, was tipped as a potential successor to Hammett but that doesn't appear likely in the short term.

Counties Manukau chief executive Andrew Maddock was pleased to have retained the services of Umaga.

"Tana is hugely respected by our players and our supporters. He has the ability to get the best out of the players and those around him,'' Maddock said.

"It also offers us continuity and allows Tana to keep building on the good work he has already done.''

The Counties season officially starts with two home Ranfurly Shield matches against Thames Valley on July 2 and Mid Canterbury the following week.


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