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Maori All Blacks appoint Ross Filipo as new head coach for Japan tour

By Ned Lester
Waikato head coach Ross Filipo. Photo by Fiona Goodall/Getty Images

The Maori All Blacks have found their next head coach in former All Black Ross Filipo as the team look ahead to their upcoming tour of Japan.

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Filipo, a Maori All Black himself in the 2005 team that defeated the British and Irish Lions, has been involved in coaching in Japan and New Zealand, notably leading Waiakato to the 2021 National Provincial Championship while now acting as an assistant in Clayton McMillan’s setup at the Chiefs.

Fellow Chiefs assistant and former All Black Roger Randle will join Filipo for the June tour alongside Greg Feek.

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“When I received the news that I was successful, I was excited about the opportunity to again add to the legacy of the M?ori All Blacks, but in a coaching capacity,” Filipo said of his appointment.

“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 M?ori with our onfield performances.”

The 45-year-old has the task of leading the team’s first campaign since 2022’s two-Test series against Ireland, in which the series was split one win apiece while the visitors ran home with an historic series win over the All Blacks.

The Maori outfit can look to last year’s winning conquest to Japan by the All Blacks XV as a blueprint for success, but there’s no shortage of winning DNA for the team, as they’ve claimed wins overs Fiji, Samoa and Moana Pasifika as well as Ireland since 2019.

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This will be Filipo’s first foray into the international coaching arena, having Super Rugby Pacific coaching experience, as well as the experience of his playing career where he donned both Crusaders and Chiefs colours.

The series kicks off June 29 in Tokyo, with the second contest taking place the following weekend of July 6.

Related

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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