TANA UMAGA may have recently turned 38, but he has not ruled himself out of playing Super Rugby next season.
His words come after he was named in the Chiefs side to take on the Blues in Auckland this Saturday.
It was one five changes made to the starting team by coach Ian Foster for the match at Eden Park.
The former All Blacks captain returns to the side after being sidelined for more than two months with an Achilles injury.
Umaga said he will turnout once again for Counties Manukau as a player and assistant coach this year.
But asked it he saw that as a swansong campaign, Umaga didn’t know.
“I'm not too sure. Someone was telling me Bernard Hopkins became a world [boxing] champion at 46 so I've got plenty of time left,” he told the Waikato Times.
“If he can take punches to the head [at that age] I'm sure I can run around for a little bit more.
“In the end it's just a mindset and making sure that you're motivated enough. I think that's what gets to you as you get older that motivation, it really dwindles.
“But the body, if you've looked after it, it will look after you. I believe I've done that, apart from that calf injury, which was a bit of a funny one and a bit of a frustration.”
Props Ben May and Nathan White return from injury in place of the injured Ben Afeaki and Sona Taumalolo, Tanerau Latimer returns from his ankle problem to the openside flank and Lelia Masaga is back on the right wing.
“It’s great to have senior players, such as Tanerau Latimer, Ben May, Nathan White and Tana Umaga return to the starting line-up,” said Foster.
“The Blues will be well motivated as they seek to nail a playoff place and the fact they lost their last home game. For us, knowing we are out of the playoffs is disappointing but having a traditional game like this now is ideal.”
Dwayne Sweeney is bumped to the bench by Umaga's return, while Matt Vant Leven comes on to the bench for the first time.
1 Ben May
2 Hika Elliot
3 Nathan White
4 Craig Clarke
5 Romana Graham
6 Liam Messam
7 Tanerau Latimer
8 Fritz Lee
9 Brendon Leonard
10 Stephen Donald
11 Sitiveni Sivivatu
12 Tana Umaga
13 Richard Kahui
14 Lelia Masaga
15 Mils Muliaina (c)
16 Aled de Malmanche
17 Toby Smith
18 Culum Retallick
19 Matt Vant Leven
20 Tawera Kerr-Barlow
21 Mike Delany
22 Dwayne Sweeney
There are plenty of mouth-watering clashes on offer this weekend.
Which player was unlucky not to make the Wallabies’ preliminary squad for the British and Irish Lions series?
Gordon Tietjens’ success in sevens is unrivalled and should place him in the same coaching league as Sir Alex Ferguson.
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen named a 38-man training squad and there are a couple of oversights worth highlighting