Umaga enjoying U20s coaching role

Date published: June 1 2015

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Former All Blacks captain Tana Umaga is relishing his current coaching role with the New Zealand U20 side.

The Baby Blacks are looking to end a three-year drought at U20 level when the Junior World Championship kicks off in Italy on Tuesday.

Umaga is working as an assistant coach along with Leon Macdonald under Scott Robertson and is excited by the challenge of developing New Zealand's brightest young talents.

"You're always learning, that's a definite," Umaga told Stuff.

"Just being in that touring environment and getting that group together, we've had three camps and every time there's new players coming in so you're always having to make sure the new players are across what you're trying to achieve.

"Dealing with this sort of age group is exciting. With the amount of talent around and what they can do, you feel pretty heartened as a New Zealander.

"There's also that responsibility to make sure they are always learning in this environment and working to become better players. That drives me and keeps me on my toes."

The feeling appears to be mutual, with Blues winger Tevita Li describing how it felt to be working with a player who he idolised growing up.

"[Tana] was one of my idols growing up and watching rugby. Now I try and feed off him and learn everything I can from him to help improve my game and make me a better player."

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