19 Aug 2021

Manu Samoa seek new assistant coach after Umaga steps down

7:17 am on 19 August 2021

Manu Samoa will look to bolster their coaching set-up in the new year after Tana Umaga announced he was stepping away from professional rugby.

Manu Samoa coach Seilala Mapusua, captain Michael Alaalatoa and assistant coach Tana Umaga listen in during training.

Tana Umaga (c) during a Manu Samoa training session in Wellington. Photo: Facebook/Manu Samoa

The former All Black captain was part of an all-star coaching line-up assembled by Seilala Mapusua, that included former Manu Samoa skipper Mahonri Schwalger, Blues assistant coach Tom Coventry and Crusaders assistant Andrew Goodman.

Samoa defeated Tonga last month to secure their qualification for the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France.

Umaga confirmed on Tuesday he was taking a break from professional coaching to focus on a supplements business he launched with wife Rochelle earlier this year.

He joined the Blues in 2016 as head coach before spending the last three seasons as the team's defence coach, under his former All Blacks teammate Leon MacDonald. He also coached Moana Pasifika in their debut match against the Māori All Blacks last year.

Seilala Mapusua confirmed to RNZ Pacific that Umaga was also stepping away from his coaching role with Manu Samoa and he already "had a few coaches in mind" as a possible replacement.

Spot the all-star coaching panel, including Mo Scwalger, Tom Coventry and Tana Umaga.

Manu Samoa assembled an all-star coaching team earlier this year. Photo: Facebook/Manu Samoa

The former test midfielder said the rest of the coaching staff remained committed to the Manu through to the 2023 World Cup.

Mapusua, Schwalger, Coventry and Goodman will guide the team on their November tour to the Northern Hemisphere with plans for a new coaching addition to come on board in 2022.