Tana Umaga to play at the Tens

Former All Blacks captain Tana Umaga, still one of the most recognisable names in world rugby, will complete the International Legends line-up at the 2010 Castle Cape Town Tens.

Umaga will join tournament hosts Bob Skinstad and Robbie Fleck and eight other former internationals in a star-studded International Legends team (see the full list below!) this weekend and he could not be more excited at the prospect of teaming up with his old foes.

The UCT Ikey Tigers A team will also be in action at the 10s this weekend!

Umaga said “Zak (Feaunati) got hold of me to find out if I would be keen to play and I obviously know Bob and Rob well from our playing days, so it was great to hear from them and (to) be able to take up the opportunity of coming out for the 2010 Cape Town Tens,” the legendary former All Blacks back told capetowntens.com.

He added: “Bob and Rob tried to get me out to the Tens last year, but I was unable to make it due to my playing and coaching commitments in France.

“However, with this season’s (French) Top 14 on a break, due to Six Nations action, and – of course – once I checked things through with my boss (my wife!), I was able to commit to this year’s tournament and I cannot wait to get out and be involved in this great tournament.”

Umaga is, at present, the assistant coach at French club Toulon; having last season filled the role of player/manager as he helped guide his side to safety after – at one stage – flirting dangerously with the dreaded relegation zone.

Toulon are currently in sixth place on the Top 14 standings, and pushing hard for a Heineken Cup place next season, and a more relaxed Umaga is looking forward to a weekend away in the Mother City – his favourite South African city.

“Zak has told me plenty about the overall organisation and everybody that is involved, so it really was an easy invite to accept,” he revealed.

“I’ve not played Tens before, but I think that’s also why I’m so excited – it seems like a great format of the game and I can’t wait to experience it for myself.”

Umaga – who played 74 Tests for New Zealand between 1997 and 2005 – retired from Test rugby after leading his side on a successful Grand Slam tour of Europe, having also ‘Black-Washed’ the B&I Lions earlier in the 2005 season. In all, he skippered the All Blacks to an incredible 18 wins from 21 matches.

The full International Legends squad: Zak Feaunati (Samoa), Robbie Fleck (SA), Tim Horan (Aus, captain), Pat Howard (Aus), Leon Lloyd (Eng), Eric Miller (Ire), Jeremy Paul (Aus), Matt Phillips (Ita/NZ), Bob Skinstad (SA), Damian Smith (Aus), Tana Umaga (NZ).

The International Legends will be playing in the Veteran Division of the 2010 Castle Cape Town Tens – which includes a match against the Elan SA Legends at the Cape Town Stadium on Saturday afternoon.