Wellington - New Zealand great Tana Umaga aims to further
burnish his coaching credentials by serving as an assistant on the Maori All
Blacks' tour in November, New Zealand Rugby said on Wednesday.
Umaga took over the Blues this year, transforming
them from Super Rugby whipping boys into a competitive unit.
He has spoken publicly about his dream of one day coaching
the All Blacks but acknowledged he must first serve a long apprenticeship,
which has so far included stints in charge of Toulon and Counties Manukau.
Umaga will have his first taste of coaching at
representative level when the Maori All Blacks tour the United States, Ireland
and Britain in November.
He will work with head coach Colin Cooper and fellow
assistant Carl Hoeft.
"Tana brings a certain mana (prestige) to our
team," Cooper said.
"He understands the professional rugby environment well
and brings a strong high performance approach to his work."
The Maori All Blacks are made up of players from New
Zealand's indigenous Maori people.
They will play the United States in Chicago on November 4,
Munster in Limerick on November 11, and Harlequins at Twickenham Stoop on
Umaga played 74 Tests, including 21 as captain, leading the
All Blacks in 2005 to a Grand Slam victory and a clean sweep of the British and