Moana Pasifika are pleased to announce flankers Solomone Funaki and Alamanda Motuga have been re-signed for the 2024 season. The two veteran back-rowers are established members of Moana Pasifika’s leadership group.
After a season in which the Tongan international stepped up into captaincy, SolomoneFunaki’s outstanding 2023 campaign saw him claim the honour of ‘Moana Man of the Year’, Moana Pasifika’s top award. Also picking up the title of best defender with the Tagaloa award, the 29-year-old’s defensive showing in 2023 was on par with the best in the Super Rugby Pacific, finishing the season with 173 made tackles, at a 95% success rate.
With 22 appearances for Moana Pasifika, Funaki has also etched himself into a piece of the organisation’s history by being the franchise’s first try scorer in their inaugural match against the Crusaders in 2022.
Originally born in Tonga, Funaki attended Liahona High School and presides from the villages of Fanga-O’-Pilolevu (Tongatapu) and Pangai (Ha’apai). With his Rugby World Cup 2023 campaign for the ‘Ikale Tahi unfortunately cut short due to injury, Funaki is set to return to Super Rugby Pacific for another stellar season.
Alamanda Motuga has made 12 appearances for Moana Pasifika, with his debut coming in Moana Pasifika’s inaugural exhibition match against the Māori All Blacks in 2020. A gifted athlete with a work ethic to match, Motuga made his presence known as an openside flanker as he combined an 85% tackle success rate with a 55% gain line success rate. An excellent runner of the ball at openside, Motuga’s standout performance came in Round three against the Brumbies where he was awarded Man of the Match while securing two tries.
Motuga began his professional career on the international HSBC World Sevens circuit representing his home nation of Samoa. Amassing 36 appearances in the Sevens code, Motuga was a member of the Samoan team that won the 2016 Paris Sevens. Motuga’sathleticism and power also led to him making his debut for the fifteen-man Manu Samoa team in the 2019 Pacific Nations Cup against Tonga.
Hailing from the villages of Satoa and Sa’anapu, Alamanda has years of experience representing his nation of Samoa, most recently at the 2023 Rugby World Cup.
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