Sport | Rugby

Māori All Blacks: Ross Filipo named head coach as management confirmed

Ross Filipo speaks to Sky Sport during the round 9 Mitre 10 Cup match between Waikato and Bay of Plenty at FMG Stadium on November 8, 2020 in Hamilton, New Zealand. (Photo by Michael Bradley/Getty Images)

Chiefs assistant coach Ross Filipo (Muaūpoko) has been appointed head coach of the Māori All Blacks, leading the team’s return to the international stage for two matches against the Japan XV in late June and early July.

Filipo, a former Māori All Blacks player and a member of the historic team that defeated the British and Irish Lions in 2005, expressed excitement and a sense of responsibility in his new role.

“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,” he said.

Waikato coach Ross Filipo looks on during the round nine Bunnings NPC match between Waikato and Bay of Plenty at FMG Stadium, on October 2, 2022, in Hamilton, New Zealand. (Photo by Michael Bradley/Getty Images)

Joining Filipo in the coaching team are Roger Randle (Ngāti Awa) and Greg Feek (Ngāti Kahungunu) as assistant coaches.

Randle, who currently works with Filipo as a Chiefs assistant coach, brings over a decade of coaching experience, including five years with the Māori All Blacks.

Meanwhile a nine-year tenure with Ireland, a recent role as All Blacks scrum coach and a stint with the Blues in 2023 will inform Feek’s role as an assistant coach.

“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 coache, while I learn as much as I can from them,” Filipo added.

New Zealand Māori Rugby Board chair Professor Dame Farah Palmer (Ngāti Maniapoto, Waikato), praised the coaching appointments and the expertise they bring to the team.

“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.

Filipo is set to front media this afternoon from Waikato.

2024 Māori All Blacks management team

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)