Game Preview: Moana Pasifika v Blues

The battle of Eden, it doesn’t get much better than this. 

Repping the 09, the Pacific and the people. Moana Pasifika travels across the bridge to face the Blues at the fortress of Eden Park this afternoon. 

Historically the Blues have had a strong contingent of Pacific Island players. In Auckland, a melting pot of cultures, a city that’s vibrant and full of Pacific pride. It’s going to be a huge day to celebrate Pasifika excellence. 

Moana Pasifika flanker Jacob Norris will go up against his flatmate and fellow former St Peter’s Cambridge student Laghlan McWhannell who is starting at lock for the Blues. He also flats with Blues loose forward James Thompson.

Norris said the vibe in the flat this week has been “very funny and full of energy” with a few fun bets put in place. Such as if one of them scores against each other or concedes a turnover, they have to buy the other person something.

“I’m making sure they don’t look in the books when writing stuff down,” Norris said. “It will be a very cool moment to play against them as I went to school with both of them as well.”

Blues hooker Ricky Riccitelli will play his 100th Super Rugby match and halfback Finlay Christie will take the field for his 50th Blues game.

The milestones will provide added motivation for both sides to get up for the occasion.

Key match ups:

Lotu Inisi and Hoskins Sotutu square up at Number 8. Two in-form back rowers and tenacious ball carriers go mano a mano. 

Inisi has beaten more defenders than any other player this season at a whopping 24. 

Two dynamic playmakers, Stephen Perofeta and Christian Lealiifano go head to head. 

Perofeta was the top point scorer last weekend (16). He also beat seven defenders and made two clean breaks.

The backline on both teams look dangerous and will no doubt put on a show.

Rieko Ioane returns, Caleb Clarke, Bryce Heem and Mark Tele’a v Fine Inisi, Julian Savea, Pepesana Patafilo and Nigel Ah Wong.


Current standings: Moana Pasifika 9th v Blues 4th

Moana Pasifika last played the Blues at Eden Park in Round 11 last season, going down 31-30 in the final moments by a penalty try. 

The Blues men have beaten Moana Pasifika in all three meetings and have won their last seven fixtures at Eden Park. 

Moana Pasifika is searching for their third win of the season and their first ever victory at the Garden of Eden. They’re two victories in 2024 were both on the road against the Fijian Drua and Western Force.

The Blues have won 4 out of 5 matches so far this year against the Fijian Drua, Highlanders, Waratahs and Crusaders. 

Match Details:

Kick off: 4:35pm NZT

Referee: James Doleman

Assistant Referee 1: Jono Bredin

Assistant Referee 2: Fraser Hannon

TMO: Chris Hart

Tickets from $5 available here:


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