MacDonald to stick with Blues to 2023

By Will Trafford

Leon MacDonald has committed to coaching the Blues for two more seasons, having led them to their first Super Rugby Trans-Tasman title in 18 years.

MacDonald took over from Tana Umaga as Head Coach in 2019, leading a new coaching group including Tom Coventry, Daniel Halangahu and Ben Afeaki, as Umaga moved into the defensive coach role.

Former All Black and Māori All Black MacDonald moved into coaching after suffering a concussion while playing in Japan in 2010. He lead the Tasman Mako before heading to the Blues.

43-year-old MacDonald says he’s looking forward to two more years at The Blues.

“From a rugby standpoint this club has made huge strides, but we know there is a lot more to do. We also know there is a massive talent-pool here and our development as a Super Rugby club has so much potential,” he said.

MacDonald said a key reason for extending his stay was the quality of his coaching group led by assistant coaches Coventry, Halangahu, Afeaki.

MacDonald thanked departing Umaga who last month announced he was standing aside to pursue his family's business interests.

“Tana will be sorely missed for his work both on and off the field, but at the same time a new coach will bring a new dimension and hopefully challenge us on our thoughts and processes,”.

MacDonald says the Blues also had a top-class support staff led by strength and conditioning coach Phil Healey.

Blues CEO Andrew Hore welcomed MacDonald’s decision to stay.

“Leon has guided our group who have developed into an excellent coaching team, and a superb staff not only in their individual roles, but collectively into a group who are fully supportive of our culture and heritage, our connections with our provincial unions and development pathways, and to bring pride to our region.”