Celebrated Moana Pasifika hero Danny Toala described the surreal feeling of scoring a spectacular kick and chase try in extra time to secure the team’s first DHL Super Rugby Pacific win.
“It’s hard to explain. Especially in a rugby game, it’s something I’ve never felt before. It’s pretty surreal. Playing for my family, it just hits different, I’m speechless really,” he said after the nail-biting 24-19 golden point win.
Toala wrote his name into the history books a kick and chase try from inside their own 22 to break the 80 minute 19-all tie.
“I’d seen a lot of space. My first initial thought was to have a go, but then I just stuck to our game plan. Big ups to our drivers for driving that into us this week to make sure we were playing in the right zone.
“I did think of running it, but then something told me just to kick it, and … the first bounce didn’t bounce up nicely so I just hacked it with my shin and even the bounce before I picked it up to score, wasn’t that nice. It just happened real quick.
“As soon as I got the ball down I just celebrated,” an elated Toala said after the match.
Played in front of a small crowd of bubbles at Mt Smart, Toala acknowledged the win as something special for fans.
“It’s crazy how our fans, the emotions and pride, and the way they came out to support us, for us to get the dub (win), was for them.”
With the next game set to be a mouth-watering face off against their Auckland neighbours, the Blues on Tuesday night, Toala said the team would now focus on recovery, reviewing and preparing.
“We’re doing what we can to be ready.”
One of the stand out players from the match was Henry Time-Stowers, who scored a try and was busy around the ball.
“I’m stoked! I’m stoked for the boys. We have the talent, we have the capability, just stoked for the boys.”
Asked what the focus of the team had been coming into the match, Time-Stowers said there wasn’t anything complicated or drastically different about the way they had to prepare.
“We wanted to keep it simple, and stick to our structures and it worked out.
Of the Hurricanes he said:
“That was tough. We didn’t underestimate the forward pack of the ‘Canes, their mobile footwork. But off the back of guys like Solomone Funaki, he had a massive game, Sione Tuipulotu, Sam Slade, it was easy to do the things I had to do because our tight five were working so hard and our backrow … it was good.”
Moana Pasifika head into their next catch-up against the Blues at Mt Smart on Tuesday, as teams try to get the competition back on schedule.
With rules now opening up the game for crowds, tickets are now on sale for Tuesday’s match.
Moana Pasifika v Blues
7.05pm, Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland
Live on Sky Sport
Tickets on sale now, click here.See all news