Watch: 'Rugby players aren't bulletproof... This game doesn't sustain you' - Tana Umaga wary of retirement struggles


Many years may have passed since the chants of "Ooh ahh Umaga" but former All Blacks captain and current Blues head coach Tana Umaga believes he's fortunate to still be involved with the game he retired from in 2011.

The Blues coach spoke about the need for current and former players to speak up after the passing of Dan Vickerman.
Source: 1 NEWS

"This game doesn't sustain you for the rest of your life, and if it does, it is only for the top two or three," Umaga told 1 NEWS.

"Other than that, you are going to have to realise you're going to have to work."

His comments come after former Wallabies player Dan Vickerman, 37, died at his family home on Saturday.

John Plumtree spoke of his history with the former Wallaby, including a possible union in their native South Africa.
Source: 1 NEWS

Vickerman had spoken to friends about his difficulty in making the transition to daily life after retiring from professional rugby in 2012.

"Hopefully we know enough about our players that we can see certain things," Umaga said at Blues training today.

"For current players and to think about if there are issues, to talk about them.

"As rugby players, it doesn't mean we are bulletproof and we can't let pride step in the way of asking for help."

Umaga's initial retirement was a staggered one.

After becoming a coach with Toulon in 2008/09, the former All Blacks captain was replaced a few months into the role.

Umaga then did what he knows best, ending up playing as a player coach with Toulon, before leaving the following season.

His mixed time in France saw Umaga continue his player-coach role, this time with Counties Manukau, before then making a surprise return as a Super Rugby player for the Chiefs in 2011.

Finally finishing playing, he quickly transitioned into the role as coach of Counties Manakau for four seasons before taking on head coach of the Blues in 2016.

"Sometimes we get a bit embarrassed about what I used to do, I used to do this and now I can't do it anymore," the Blues coach added.

Playing careers are very short in comparison to the average life span, Umaga mused.

"I want to live a long time and I want to see my grandkids, that's another 35 years I want to live for, if not more,"

Where can I get support and help from?

Below is a list of some of the services available which offer support, information and help. All services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week unless otherwise specified.

Lifeline 24/7 – 0800 543 354

Kidsline (aimed at children up to 18 years of age, available 24/7) – 0800 54 37 54

Depression Helpline (24/7) - 0800 111 757

Healthline - 0800 611 116

Samaritans - 0800 726 666 (for callers from the Lower North Island, Christchurch and West Coast) or 0800 211 211 / (04) 473 9739 (for callers from all other regions)

Youthline - 0800 376 633, free text 234 or email

What's Up (for 5-18 year olds; 1 pm to 11 pm) - 0800 942 8787 - includes The Journal online help service - visit the website, email or free text 5626. This is a 24/7 service.

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