Umaga continues rich family tradition after receiving England call-up

Jacob Umaga continues rich family tradition after receiving England call-up following breakthrough season with Wasps – as fly-half follows in footsteps of his uncle and former All Blacks captain Tana

  • Umaga’s father Mike played Samoa while his uncle Tana played for New Zealand 
  • The Wasps fly-half made the cut ahead of Marcus Smith and Joe Simmonds 
  • The 22-year-old joined up with Eddie Jones’ squad after the Premiership final 

You do not have to travel far up Jacob Umaga’s family tree to see that he comes from one of rugby’s richest bloodlines. 

His father Mike played for Samoa and his mother Michelle played touch rugby for England. On top of that, his uncle Tana was a legendary All Black captain.

Umaga could have pledged his international allegiance to all three of those nations but, having grown up in Yorkshire, the 22-year-old fly-half has nailed his colours to the English mast.

Eddie Jones feels Jacob Umaga is ready to represent England after a strong domestic season

Umaga’s father Mike (left) and his uncle Tana (right) played rugby union at international level

The youngster had barely arrived home from Wasps’ Premiership final at Twickenham before he was being called back to London by Eddie Jones.

He has been one of the key sparks in Wasps’ revival under Lee Blackett, ripping open defences with his instinctive attack. 

Blessed with speed and footwork, he takes on defenders and has an eye for a gap – as he showed with his try against Exeter on Saturday.

Jones liked what he saw. Umaga has been selected ahead of Marcus Smith and Joe Simmonds – and could be fast-tracked into the matchday squad to face Italy on Saturday.

‘No 10s are like sushi chef,’ said Jones. ‘A sushi chef you’ve got a lifetime ambition to be good. It generally takes you about 10 years before you can start making sushi. 

‘No.10s are the same. Jacob is at the start of the apprenticeship and he might graduate very quickly and be able to make sushi at the corner stall – and then he might be able to make sushi at a five-star restaurant.

England head coach Jones feels Dan Carter is a player whose example Umaga should follow

‘The development of the player is something no one knows, but what you have to try to do is put them in an environment and encourage them to play to their strengths. 

‘Look at the example of Daniel Carter. He was at his best at 35, the complete package: calm, takes field goals when they need them, kicks to the corner, then when there’s a line break he is in on it. 

‘You have to identify those guys who have that instinctiveness about them and then try to bring them through.’

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