The appointment of Umaga, who takes over from Reuben Thorne, was announced in Welington when All Blacks coach Graham Henry named Probables and Possibles trial teams for a selectionmatch next week.
New Zealand-born Umaga, who turns 31 on Thursday, has played 53Tests for the All Blacks.
Henry said Umaga had all the attributes needed to lead his country. He said he spoke to Thorne Sunday and the Canterbury Crusaderscaptain accepted the news "graciously and professionally".
Meanwhile Super 12 Crusaders No 8 Mose Tuiali'i was a surprisename in the Probables line-up. Tuiali'i, who enjoyed an impressive debut season for the Crusadersin the Super 12 contest, has missed the last three weeks due to suspensionafter being found guilty of a head butt during the Crusaders win over theWestern Stormers on May 1st.
Besides Tuiali'i, Deacon Manu, Andrew Hore and Keith Robinson arealso included in the Probables starting XV, the trio being rewarded foroutstanding campaigns in the just concluded Super 12 contest.
Players have been bracketed in two positions in the Probablesstarting line-up, with Jerry Collins and Reuben Thorne set to share theblindside flanking duties while Richard McCaw and Marty Holah have beenbracketed on the
The Possibles starting XV features a number of players who wereinvolved at last year's Rugby World Cup including Kees Meeuws, Keven Mealamu,Byron Kelleher, Aaron Mauger, Ben Atiga and Caleb Ralph.
The Probables will play the Possibles at Eden Park, Auckland, nextTuesday. The first All Blacks squad will be announced the following day.
The All Blacks coaching staff, will coach theProbables with Hurricanes coach Colin Cooperand Chiefs coach Ian Foster coaching the Possibles,
Probables: Deacon Manu, Andrew Hore, Greg Somerville, Chris Jack,Keith Robinson, Jerry Collins/Reuben Thorne, Richard McCaw/Marty Holah,Mose Tuiali'i, Justin Marshall, Carlos Spencer, Joe Rokocoko, DanielCarter, Tana Umaga, Doug Howlett, Mils Muliaina. Probables reserves: Derren Witcombe, Tony Woodcock, Brad Thorn,Angus MacDonald, Jimmy Cowan, Luke McAlister, Andrew Mehrtens, Hosea Gear.
Possibles: Kees Meeuws, Keven Mealamu, Carl Hayman, Jono Gibbes,Simon Maling, Craig Newby, Josh Blackie, Xavier Rush, Byron Kelleher, AaronMauger, Sitiveni Sivivatu, Sam Tuitupou, Ben Atiga, Caleb Ralph, Nick Evans. Possibles reserves: Corey Flynn Carl Hoeft, Ali Williams, SioneLauaki, Isaac Boss, Tane Tu'ipulotu. Brent Ward.
AFP - 2004.