Toulon president Mourad Boudjellal has confirmed that former All Black and current head coach Tana Umaga will be replaced but will feature as a player.
Umaga, capped 74 times for New Zealand, is 35 years old, but that has not deterred Boudjellal or Umaga from this course of action. His return to the pitch will last for the remainder of the season before he assumes the role of team manager next season.
“Tana is a natural leader and the team has an enormous respect for him,” Boudjellal said. ” He feels ready in his head … and will make his return when he’s ready”.
Current Sale Sharks coach Philippe Saint-André has been confirmed as Umaga’s successor and will start at Toulon on 1 July.
“I said after our defeat to Dax that I was totally responsible for the mistakes in recruitment and that I was searching for a mastermind,” Boudjellal said.
“I’ve found that mastermind: Philippe Saint-Andre, who will be sporting director in charge notably of recruitment and sporting structures. He will work in close collaboration with manager Tana Umaga.”
The club has also confirmed the signing of South African flyhalf Conrad Barnard, former France hooker Sébastien Bruno and France scrumhalf Pierre Mignoni.