27 May 2024

Ross Filipo to coach Māori All Blacks

12:44 pm on 27 May 2024
Ross Filipo assistant coach of the Chiefs

Ross Filipo assistant coach of the Chiefs Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Chiefs assistant coach Ross Filipo has been named Māori All Blacks head coach.

The Māori All Blacks will play two matches this year against the Japan XV on Saturday 29 June and Saturday 6 July, in Japan.

They last played in 2022 under the guidance of Clayton McMillan.

Filipo (Muaūpoko), will be joined by Roger Randle (Ngāti Awa) and Greg Feek (Ngāti Kahungunu) as Assistant Coaches.

Filipo played for the Māori All Blacks (formerly New Zealand Māori) in 2005 when they beat the British and Irish Lions for the first time, before he earned a surprise call-up to the All Blacks two years later.

He played five tests in 2007 and 2008.

Following his playing career, Filipo coached in Japan before returning home to New Zealand in 2019 to take on coaching opportunities with Waikato Rugby Union. In 2021, he was appointed Waikato head coach of the National Provincial Championship team and led them to their third Premiership title in the same year.

"When I received the news that I was successful, I was excited about the opportunity to again add to the legacy of the Māori All Blacks but in a coaching capacity. I understand there is a huge responsibility attached to this role and will do my absolute best to ensure our traditions are protected and preserved. I also hope to inspire young Māori with our on-field performances," Filipo said.

Lions lock Simon Shaw is about to be tackled by Maori All Blacks lock Ross Filipo with Greg Feek and Piri Weepu in support, 2005.

Lions lock Simon Shaw is about to be tackled by Maori All Blacks lock Ross Filipo with Greg Feek and Piri Weepu in support, 2005. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Assistant coach Roger Randle currently works closely alongside Filipo as Chiefs assistant coach with coaching experience spanning over a decade, holding positions for Waikato and five years on Māori All Blacks campaigns. Feek has a wealth of coaching experience which includes a nine-year stint with Ireland. Most recently, Feek finished up as All Blacks Scrum Coach and returned home to the Blues in 2023.

"Working alongside two experienced assistants is going to be awesome for my personal growth and development. I want to ensure I provide them with a programme that enables them to thrive as coaches, while I learn as much as I can from them," Filipo said.

New Zealand Māori Rugby Board chair Professor Dame Farah Palmer (Ngāti Maniapoto, Waikato) said she was pleased to see the quality and calibre of people involved.

"I want to congratulate each individual and their whānau on their achievement. I also want to congratulate Ross on his head coach appointment and I'm looking forward to seeing how he will set the team up for success in Japan.

"One of our pillars in the New Zealand Māori Rugby Strategy is Puawaitanga - enhancing Māori through rugby. Working on the Māori All Blacks tour will be another great opportunity to showcase Māori rugby and Te Ao Māori on the global stage," Palmer said.

2024 Māori All Blacks Management:

Head Coach: Ross Filipo (Muaūpoko)

Assistant Coach: Roger Randle (Ngāti Awa)

Assistant Coach: Greg Feek (Ngāti Kahungunu)

Team Manager: Brad Te Haara (Ngāpuhi/Ngāti Rangi)

Strength & Conditioning Coach: Christos Argus

Performance Analyst: Jayson Ross (Ngāti Kahungunu)

Physiotherapist: Thomas Wardhaugh

Team Doctor: Dr. Rawiri Durie (Ngāti Kawhata/Rangitāne)

Campaign Manager: Ben Fisher

Team Administrator: Ezra Iupeli

Commercial Manager: Jordyn Steel (Ngāti Hei)

Media Manager: Savannah Tafau-Levy

Digital Media Manager: Callum Smith

Kaumatua: Luke Crawford (Ngāti Porou, Tūwharetoa)