ON AIR: The Country - Early Edition

5AM - 6AM

We Need To Talk: Have the Blues got their coaching right?

Martin Devlin,
Publish Date
Friday, 16 November 2018, 12:43PM

Question: If the answer is "it appears so", what is the question?

Answer: Have the Blues, in the end, actually got their coaching thing right?

The announcement yesterday that Tana Umaga was stepping aside for Leon McDonald was, although timing-wise coming out of nowhere, not really a huge surprise.

Much more so is the upside down & back to front process used that, if you remember, only reappointed Tana as Head Coach back in May to now demote him just 6 months later.

And it is a demotion. Make no mistake about that.

Despite the best PR efforts telling us that this is Tana "stepping aside for the good of the franchise" and "wanting to hands-on pursue his passion for the defensive side of the game", we all know this is nothing but a thinly-disguised attempt to provide the man with a softer landing than the perceived embarrassment of being fired before his new contract even began.

And I for one have no problem with that. I like Tana. Always have.

Not sure whether right now he's worthy of a Super Rugby Head Coaching role but equally I don't believe he's necessarily a bad coach either.

What is impossible to understand is why the Blues board reappointed him in the first place before they'd conducted their end of season review. It defies belief, logic and all good business procedure.

Surely someone among that brains trust was awake enough during the meeting to point out how it'd make so much more sense to wait for those results and then and only then make just the most momentous decision facing the franchise?

Anyway. Forget all that. In the end, for me, file it under one big "whatever".
Because however, they've arrived at where they're now, it isn't nearly as important as the fact they've got there. I'll go back to the original question I asked: In the end, has the right outcome been reached?

And the answer to that is yes.
This new evolved coaching structure looks enormously promising for the Blues.
Leon, Tom & Tana is a great combination.

The only names missing are Alama and Filo.

ON AIR: The Country - Early Edition

5AM - 6AM