Rugby: Veteran prop Ofa Tuungafasi gives verdict on Blues coach Leon MacDonald's link to All Blacks assistant role

Leon MacDonald's success in Super Rugby shows he is deserving of higher honours, should new All Blacks coach Scott Robertson come calling, according to a senior Blues player.

While uncertainty around who would be Ian Foster's successor finally ended on Tuesday, speculation only grows over who will assist Robertson from 2024.

Jason Ryan is expected to retain his role as All Blacks forwards coach, having worked with Robertson since 2016, winning six Super Rugby titles together.

But who else will join the formidable remains to be seen, with MacDonald tipped to join the impressive backroom staff.

However, the Blues coach has also gathered interest from overseas national jobs, with Scotland reportedly keen on filling their soon-to-be-vacated coaching gig.

Ofa Tuungafasi.
Ofa Tuungafasi. Photo credit: Photosport

Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend will leave the role at the end of the 2023 World Cup, fueling speculation MacDonald could find the potential offer too good to turn down.

Should Robertson convince MacDonald to stay home and join his team, he's got the support of 50-test-capped All Blacks prop Ofa Tuungafasi.

Tuungafasi believes MacDonald's results at the Blues speak for themselves, having taken over a team that finished bottom of the NZ conference of Super Rugby in 2018.

Since then, MacDonald led the Blues to the Super Rugby Trans-Tasman title in 2021, and a Super Rugby Pacific final appearance in 2022.

"I don't want to speculate but I can speak on Leon, and from my experience being coached by him, just look at what he's done for our club," he said.

"Obviously continued on from Tana [Umaga], what Tana started, but I have nothing but praise for Leon - a great coach, a good man,

"Whatever happens, happens, but no one has left yet, we're still here."

The Blues fell to the Robertson-coached Crusaders last week, but sit above their rivals in fourth place on the Super Rugby ladder.

They will host a Western Force team on Sunday with just as many wins as them this season, in a clash that promises to be as tightly contested as last year.

"They were ahead most of that game, they scored a lot of points, and they've got some very good players from around the world in that team," Tuungafasi said.

"Last year we came up with the win just at the end, we need to take them seriously, we need to prepare well and we look forward to a tough battle.

"Sunday arvo game, hopefully, we'll get to see our fans there, a lot of kids, and families, it will be a good afternoon for rugby."

Join us at 3:35pm Sunday for live updates of the Blues v Force Super Rugby Pacific clash