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Māori All Blacks reveal their new head coach

NEWS: New Zealand Rugby (NZR) has announced the Māori All Blacks coaching and management group ahead of their return to the international stage, where they will play two matches against the Japan XV on Saturday, June 29 and Saturday, July 6, in Japan.

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Chiefs assistant coach Ross Filipo (Muaūpoko) has been named as head coach, he will be joined by Roger Randle (Ngāti Awa) and Greg Feek (Ngāti Kahungunu) as assistant coaches.

Filipo played for the Māori All Blacks (formerly New Zealand Māori) in 2005 when they beat the British and Irish Lions for the first time, before he earned a surprise call-up to the All Blacks two years later.

Following his playing career, Filipo coached in Japan before returning home to New Zealand in 2019 to take on coaching opportunities with Waikato Rugby Union. In 2021, he was appointed Waikato head coach of the National Provincial Championship (NPC) team and led them to their third Premiership title in the same year.

“When I received the news that I was successful, I was excited about the opportunity to again add to the legacy of the Māori All Blacks but in a coaching capacity. I understand there is a huge responsibility attached to this role and will do my absolute best to ensure our traditions are protected and preserved.

“I also hope to inspire young Māori with our on-field performances,” said Filipo.

Assistant coach Roger Randle currently works closely alongside Filipo as Chiefs assistant coach with coaching experience spanning over a decade, holding positions for Waikato and five years on Māori All Blacks campaigns. Feek has a wealth of coaching experience which includes a nine-year stint with Ireland. Most recently, Feek finished up as All Blacks scrum coach and returned home to the Blues in 2023.

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“Working alongside two experienced assistants is going to be awesome for my personal growth and development. I want to ensure I provide them with a programme that enables them to thrive as coaches, while I learn as much as I can from them,” Filipo said.

New Zealand Māori Rugby Board Chair, Professor Farah Palmer (Ngāti Maniapoto, Waikato) said she is pleased to see the quality and calibre of people involved.

“I want to congratulate each individual and their whānau on their achievement. I also want to congratulate Ross on his head coach appointment and I’m looking forward to seeing how he will set the team up for success in Japan.

“One of our pillars in the New Zealand Māori Rugby Strategy is Puawaitanga – enhancing Māori through rugby. Working on the Māori All Blacks tour will be another great opportunity to showcase Māori rugby and Te Ao Māori on the global stage,” Palmer said.

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The Māori All Blacks management group consists of eight members who have been rewarded for their work in senior teams and in Super Rugby Pacific roles.

Brad Te Haara (Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Rangi) was appointed Māori All Blacks team manager and proudly hails from Northland. He brings plenty of experience to his role as current men’s High Performance Manager and NPC team manager for his region.

Dr. Rawiri Durie (Ngāti Kawhata/Rāngitane) enters his tenth campaign with the Māori All Blacks as team doctor, Hurricanes Jayson Ross (Ngāti Kahungunu) joins in his ninth as performance analyst, Christos Argus in his fourth as strength & conditioning coach (Chiefs) and Thomas Wardhaugh (Highlanders) as physiotherapist.

Māori All Blacks 2024 Management:
Head Coach: Ross Filipo (Muaūpoko)
Assistant Coach: Roger Randle (Ngāti Awa)
Assistant Coach: Greg Feek (Ngāti Kahungunu)
Team Manager: Brad Te Haara (Ngāpuhi/Ngāti Rangi)
Strength & Conditioning Coach: Christos Argus
Performance Analyst: Jayson Ross (Ngāti Kahungunu)
Physiotherapist: Thomas Wardhaugh
Team Doctor: Dr. Rawiri Durie (Ngāti Kawhata/Rangitāne)
Campaign Manager: Ben Fisher
Team Administrator: Ezra Iupeli
Commercial Manager: Jordyn Steel (Ngāti Hei)
Media Manager: Savannah Tafau-Levy
Digital Media Manager: Callum Smith
Kaumatua: Luke Crawford (Ngāti Porou, Tūwharetoa)

Watch the exclusive reveal-all episode of Walk the Talk with Ardie Savea as he chats to Jim Hamilton about the RWC 2023 experience, life in Japan, playing for the All Blacks and what the future holds. Watch now for free on RugbyPass TV

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