Front row powerhouses and former New Zealand Under 20 team mates Isileli (Isi) Tu’ungafasi and Tau Koloamatangi will add some real grunt to Moana Pasifika’s forward pack in 2022.
Tongan-born prop Tu’ungafasi makes the move to Moana after three years with the Crusaders, where he debuted against the Warratash in 2019. Tu’ungafasi knows what it takes to be a champion having known nothing else with the formidable champions of Super Rugby.
Tu’ungafasi hails from great rugby pedigree – he is the son of ‘Ikale Tahi lock Mofuike Tu’ungafasi, and is one of 12 children all born in Tonga and raised in Mangere, including his older brother All Black strongman Ofa.
As a young man Tu’ungafasi attended Māngere College and was a stand-out during his time in the first XV. His form saw him awarded his first NPC contract with Auckland in 2015 where he played alongside his brother Ofa. A break out debut season resulted in his selection to the New Zealand Under 20 side and they went on win the World Rugby Junior World Championship that same year.
After three seasons in the blue and white hoops, the 26-year-old made the shift to Northland in search of regular game time. In 2019, he secured his first Super Rugby contract with the Crusaders, making his debut in round six against the Warratahs in Sydney.
Tu’ungafasi comes to Moana with 12 Super Rugby caps to his name and a combined 58 provincial games across three different provinces. The loosehead prop is currently running out with the Tasman Mako and is hoping to clinch back-to-back titles.
Fondly nicknamed ‘Tau Truck’ for his ability to gain metres with defenders piling on him, 26-year-old Tongan rugby player Tau Koloamatangi retuns home to New Zealand in 2021 after a short stint overseas. The former-Wesley College prospect spent two years with the New Zealand Under 20 side from 2014 to 2015 putting him in a prime position to be noticed. Koloamatangi laced up his boots for Waikato where he notched up 12 games over two seasons for the Mooloos. In 2016, he secured a contract with the Valley Club in Hong Kong where he remained for the next three years. In November 2019 he was included in the Hong Kong national squad and played in their 36-17 win over Belgium in Brussels.
Since then, Koloamatangi has played for the South China Tigers in global Rapid Rugby then made the move to Australia to play for Manly in the Shute Shield. He returned to New Zealand as part of the ‘Ikale Tahi side to take on the All Blacks in July earlier this year but was unable to take the field as World Rugby queried his elibigibility, a result of that one Hong Kong fixture. World Rugby is now reviewing whether his first cap for Hong Kong should be scrapped, to open his pathway to being eligible for Tonga.
Koloamatangi has since shifted to Dunedin and has anchored the scrum for Otago in the NPC this year. His scrummaging abilities and abilities to carry strong throughout a game make him a welcomed addition to Moana Pasifika’s squad for 2022.See all news