Blues defence coach Tana Umaga has extended his stay at the franchise until the end of the 2021 Super Rugby season.
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.
“I enjoy my role at the Blues and I’m really pleased to carry on next year. This means I am aligned with the other coaches and I can continue to work with this maturing playing squad,” said Umaga.
“We have a strong coaching group and we enjoy feeding off each other as well as the benefit of some open and honest discussions about our game plans.”
Umaga’s work as defence coach resulted in the Blues topping the Super Rugby Aotearoa statistics for tackles made and number of dominant tackles. He has also contributed significantly to the team culture.
“I am thrilled that Tana will be staying with us. He has done a superb job in the development of this team as a defensive unit,” said MacDonald.
“Defence is the cornerstone of our success, not just with the alignment and communication, but our goal-line scramble defence was outstanding in terms of our system and strength of will.
“A big part of that was the character and sense of purpose that Tana has played a major part in developing with this squad.”
The coaching group are completing the review of all aspects of the season and have offered support to Northland, North Harbour and Auckland Mitre-10 Cup teams.