Tana Umaga to stay on as coach of the struggling Blues for another season after contract extended

Tana Umaga has extended his contract with the Blues, with the Auckland Super Rugby franchise announcing today that he will stay through to the end of the 2019 as head coach.

This year is the former All Blacks skipper's third season in charge,  with the Blues only managing to win three of 11 games so far this season.

"Changing coaches every cycle hasn't worked," Michael Redman said. Source: 1 NEWS

Blues chief executive Michael Redman said the board believes getting rid of Umaga is not the answer.

"The board believes there are positive improvements taking place at all levels at the club, and that Tana still has a contribution to make," said Redman.

"Changing head coach now would mean we throw out three years of hard-earned experience and starting again which we believe is the wrong thing to do.

"At the same time, the expected shifts in on-field performance are yet to be achieved and we are examining every aspect of team selection, preparation and support as our fans would expect"

Former All Blacks fullback Leon MacDonald has been confirmed as a new assistant for the Blues to help Umaga turn his side's fortunes around.

MacDonald is set to join the Blues after this year’s Mitre 10 Cup season, where he coaches the Tasman Makos.

"Changing coaches every cycle hasn't worked," Michael Redman said.
Source: 1 NEWS


Eden Park recognised at World Stadium Congress Awards for community integration

Eden Park has been honoured at the World Stadium Congress Awards for its representation of and amalgamation with both the local community and New Zealand culture.

The Auckland stadium won the Best Community Integration Award in Amsterdam earlier this month for its integration of the community and hosting of community events.

The stadium was recognised for a variety of community initiatives over the past 12 months, including Eden Park's supporters club, a photography exhibition and 'Mates on the Field' - a 100-year commemoration of The Battle of Broodseinde.

The photography exhibition, called 'Our Neighbourhood', has over 100 images captured by a local photographer which celebrates Eden Park’s community and passion for sport through the eyes of its team, supporters, local businesses and neighbourhood.

It is the largest permanent exhibition of its kind in a major sports stadium.

Eden Park CEO Nick Sautner says the award further highlights Eden Park's efforts to deliver events for the benefit of its immediate and wider community.

"Eden Park is for all of Auckland and New Zealand," he said.

"We are committed to working with our neighbourhood and local business associations to maximise the benefits for the country and community."

Eden Park has also been nominated as a finalist in two categories of the 2018 The Stadium Business Awards which will be presented in Manchester, United Kingdom in June.

Nick Sauntner says that Auckland's showpiece stadium is perfect for T20 cricket.
Source: 1 NEWS



Leon MacDonald to join Tana Umaga at Blues as assistant coach - report

Former All Black Leon MacDonald is expected to be announced as the new Blues assistant coach this afternoon.

MacDonald is expected to be announced at a press conference this afternoon where the Blues are also anticipated to confirm Tana Umaga will stay on as the head coach.

MacDonald, who is currently the head coach of Tasman and an assistant to Scott Robertson at the Crusaders, will be in a familiar environment with Umaga after the duo worked together with the New Zealand U20s three years ago.

New NZ Under 20s coaches Leon MacDonald, Scott Robertson, Tana Umaga

The pair worked under Robertson at the 2015 u20 Rugby World Cup which the Baby Blacks won, beating England 21-16 in Italy.

MacDonald and Umaga also played together in the All Blacks between 2000 and 2003.

The announcement is being made at 2pm.

Leon MacDonald said the Crusaders will be up for the challenge come Saturday against the Highlanders.
Source: 1 NEWS