Umaga linked with Blues role

Date published: June 12 2015

According to a report in the New Zealand press, former All Blacks captain Tana Umaga has been offered a role in the Blues coaching staff.

The future of Blues head coach John Kirwan still hangs in the balance after the team's worst-ever Super Rugby season but the NZ Herald reports Umaga could provide part of the solution.

Umaga is believed to have been offered the backs coach position for next year as part of a plan for him to take over as head coach from 2017.

Umaga – who coaches ITM Cup side Counties Manukau having cut his teeth as a player-coach while at Toulon in France – is currently in Italy for the World Rugby Under-20s Championship as New Zealand's assistant coach.

The 42-year-old former Hurricanes centre apparently met with Blues officials before leaving for Italy but is likely to be back in New Zealand soon as he is reportedly accompanying Jerry Collins' body home.

The Blues board is split over whether under-fire Kirwan should be retained with Friday's heavy defeat to the Highlanders fueling calls for the former All Black winger to be axed.