Maori All Blacks 2016 coaching team announced

Tri-Nations - Australia v New Zealand
SYDNEY, NSW - AUGUST 13: Tana Umaga of the All Black talks to his team mates during the Tri Nations series Bledisloe Cup match between the Australian Wallabies and the New Zealand All Blacks held at Telstra Stadium August 13, 2005 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

New Zealand Rugby have revealed the detail for the 2016 Maori All Blacks coaching group. Head Coach Colin Cooper has announced the coaching and management team for the Northern Hemisphere tour, at the end of this year.

Tana Umaga appointed to new Assistant Coach role

Former All Blacks captain and current Blues Head Coach Tana Umaga (main picture) has been appointed Assistant Coach and former All Blacks prop and Chiefs/Waikato Mitre 10 Cup Forwards Coach Carl Hoeft (below) has been appointed Assistant Forwards Coach.

Assistant Coach Carl Hoeft of the Chiefs looks on during the round 10 Super Rugby match between the Chiefs and the Sharks at Yarrow Stadium on April 29, 2016 in New Plymouth, New Zealand.
Assistant Coach Carl Hoeft of the Chiefs looks on during the round 10 Super Rugby match between the Chiefs and the Sharks at Yarrow Stadium on April 29, 2016 in New Plymouth, New Zealand.

“I’m delighted to have Tana and Carl join us.  Their mix of specific coaching skills and insight as former players adds huge value to the work we are doing around this team.

“Tana brings a certain mana to our team – he understands the professional rugby environment well and brings a strong High Performance approach to his work.  There’s no doubting the knowledge that Carl brings to the forward pack so it’s great to have him on board as well,” Cooper said.

“The Maori All Blacks is a special team and it’s important that we can access great high performance coaching skills.”

End of year tour continues Maori All Blacks legacy

The team kicks off its 2016 tour by taking on the USA Eagles at Toyota Park, Chicago on Friday 4 November. It will be an historic double header ‘Rugby Weekend’ with the All Blacks playing Ireland at Chicago’s famous Soldier Field stadium the following evening.

The Maori side travel across to the United Kingdom; where their legacy is well respected, and will play Ireland’s Munster in Limerick, at Thomond Park on Friday 11 November.

They end the tour on Wednesday November 16, by playing a Harlequin side on the famous Twickenham Stoop, London.

Tana Umaga continues pathway within NZ Rugby

Head coach Tana Umaga of the Blues gives instructions to the team during a Blues super rugby training session at Alexander Park on February 2, 2016 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)
Head coach Tana Umaga of the Blues gives instructions to the team during a training session in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

Gaining in coaching experience, the latest announcement by New Zealand Rugby is a step-up for Umaga. From All Blacks captain, he left for France and was promoted to player/coach at Toulon.

From there, he returned to these shores, as assistant at Counties-Manukau. When he was elevated to head coach, the recognition of his talent was cemented. Now completed his maiden season of Super Rugby with The Blues, the credentials are developing.

It demonstrates the pathway which Hoeft is also taking. After a stint offshore, they have both returned and have done their ‘apprenticeship’. Assisting in Hoeft’s case and; for Umaga, now asserting themselves as Head Coach.

Maori head coach Colin Cooper a recognized leader

Umaga was coached by Cooper during the latter years of his time with the Hurricanes and he said Cooper was someone who had a big effect on the way he coached.

“It’s a great opportunity for me to get back with Colin again and also evolve as a coach. That’s what I’m looking forward to as well.”

“I’ve been in contact with Colin for a while. I did drop the hint that ‘if you were ever looking for a coach I would be very keen to do it’ and it just so happened that I did get a phone call back so that was great,” he said.

Each has taken learnings from esteemed coaches, and in Cooper, both will gain crucial experience. Cooper has coached Taranaki, the ‘Canes Super Rugby side and is a former New Zealand Maori player himself.

Re-appointed in July, his mana is a powerful element of his coaching status. Hoeft and Umaga especially, have that provenance with the ‘black jersey’. All three will pass that message onto their players and the tour should bring more success for the legacy of the Maori side’s rugby history.

Maori All Blacks Management Team
Head Coach – Colin Cooper
Assistant Coach – Tana Umaga
Assistant Forwards Coach – Carl Hoeft
Kaumatua – Luke Crawford
Manager – Tony Ward
Video Analyst – Jayson Ross
Doctor – Zig Khouri
Strength and Conditioning Coach – Bradley Anderson
Physiotherapist – Ash Draper
Logistics /Massage – Paul Minehan

“Main photo credit”

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