All Blacks and Hurricanes captain Tana Umaga has made himself available for the Southern Hemisphere team to play in the IRB Rugby Aid Match at Twickenham on March 5.
Umaga, who returned to training with his Hurricanes team earlier this week, has said he is happy to help for such a worthy cause.
“The Tsunami has affected millions of people and I’m happy to help in any way I can to make a difference to those who need our help, and will need our help in the months to come.”
The New Zealand Rugby Union and the Hurricanes have both supported Umaga’s availability and applaud his offer to join the Southern hemisphere team which includes Wallabies captain George Gregan and Spingboks captain John Smit.
NZRU Deputy Chief Executive Steve Tew said the union has been working through a process with All Blacks coach Graham Henry and the Rebel Sport Super 12 franchises to identify players who could participate in the Tsunami fixture.
“We wanted to ensure that the process of making players available was done in a consultative way so that we ensured it was fair and reasonable, and that we had the full support of the franchises, our national team coaches and, most importantly, the players.
“We are delighted that Tana has made himself available in support of what everyone agrees is an extremely important cause.”
Tew said the NZRU was continuing to work through the availability of players from the other franchises and announcements would follow once these have been confirmed.
Hurricanes Chief Executive Malcolm Holmes said the Hurricanes fully supported Tana and the NZRU in this decision.
“As we have said, this is a unique situation and we are fully behind the cause and Tana’s decision to make himself available.”
It is expected that Umaga will travel to England while his Hurricanes team mates are in South Africa for their Rebel Sport Super 12 clashes with the Cats (March 5) and the Sharks (March 11).
For more information, please contact:
New Zealand Rugby Union
Mobile: 027 229 5380
Manager, AMI (for Tana Umaga)
Phone: (04) 472 1156
Mobile: 021 907 499