Tana Umaga reveals the main reason why he wanted to become the head coach for Moana Pasifika

Tana Umaga reveals the main reason why he wanted to become the head coach for Moana Pasifika

Tana has been signed for three years from now.
11 July 2023 12:56PM

Former All Blacks captain and Blues' coach Tana Umaga has officially been announced as the new head coach of Moana Pasifika. 

Moana Pasifika shared a photo of Tana alongside a quote of his in the caption. 

"I've always held a special place for Moana Pasifika since its inception and I'm deeply honoured for this opportunity to take up the reins again as head coach - Fa'alogo Tana Umage," the caption reads. 

More than just returning to being a 'head coach', the connection Moana Pasifika has with its fans was the main reason for his decision.

“What it means to a lot of people, what it means to a lot of players, the opportunities for our Pacific Island nations, the purpose was strong, and it drew me to it and made me put my name towards it,” Tana told Stuff. 

Tana was initially the head coach of Blues until 2018, before being replaced by Leon MacDonald. He still coached the team as the Defence coach. 

The new Moana Pasifika head coach understands how different it is to be in the head coach's shoes, having both the experience as an assistant coach as well as a head coach.

"Oh yeah, you get a lot more sleep as an assistant coach, you just do your job and then go home," Tana said.

“I’m sure head coaches will tell you there’s a lot that gets on your mind. The ability to manage up, sideways and down, that’s something I learnt with Leon. It just comes down to making sure everyone’s informed about what’s happening."

“There’s a major difference, you’re heading a programme, it’s all on you, it’s what everyone’s looking at. And I think I’m old enough now to be able to deal with that. I’ve really learnt from my time being an assistant.”

"Pacific Islanders, we love contact, we’ve just got to make sure that we can do it for a long time – 80 minutes would be great – and we work on our discipline and our accuracy around what we do,” Tana said further explaining that once that's achieved, their target for the team to be in the top-eight will become real.

"We need to make sure that whatever we do as Moana gives them something that they feel connected to, that they want to go on and represent the country of their birth, or grandparents’ or parents’ birth."