Moana Pasifika will head south to face the Highlanders in their first pre-season match of 2024, this Friday 2nd February at Queenstown Events Centre.
The teams will follow a modified game format of four 20-minute quarters.
Head Coach Fa’alogo Tana Umaga says it will be an important match in Moana Pasifika’s preparation for the new season, which sees them add 20 new players to the squad.
“It will be a good opportunity to go through new combinations and have a hit out, and with a lot of fresh faces in the team this year, we want to give everyone available the chance to have a run,” said Umaga.
“We’ve been training against each for a while now so it will be good to play against someone different for a change and see where we’re at and where we can get better,” he said.
New Moana Pasifika Captain James Lay will lead the first team in the opening 20 minute block, before Sekope Kepu and Julian Savea share skipper duties to end the first forty minutes. The last two teams to play will be led by Sione Havili-Talitui.
Kepu will be eager to get back on the field after missing the entire 2023 season due to an achilles injury.
“We’re looking forward to having Sekope back, he’s an integral part of this club and a veteran of our game. He’s worked hard to get back on the field and I’m sure he’s keen to get back out there again,” said Umaga.
All teams named have a mix of experience and youth, with many also running out for the first time in Moana Pasifika colours.
Moana Pasifika and the Highlanders will meet again for their first match of the DHL Super Rugby Pacific season, at Forsyth Barr Stadium on February 24.
Pre-season Match 1
Moana Pasifika v Highlanders
Queenstown Events Centre, Field 2
Kick off, 6:00pm
First 20-minute block
Second 20-minute block
Third 20-minute block
Fourth 20-minute block
Unavailable for selection:
Donald Brighouse, Ivan Fepuleai, Solomone Funaki, Fine Inisi, Lotu Inisi, Lalomilo Lalomilo, Otumaka Mausia, Viliami Napa’a, Connor Seve, Ola Tauelangi, Jonathan Taumateine, Jonathan Toelupe, Salesi Tuifua.
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