The Hurricanes return to Mount Smart Stadium this Saturday for the first time since succumbing to Moana Pasifika in an extra-time thriller last season. The match marked an historic occasion for Moana Pasifika, claiming their first DHL Super Rugby Pacific win in just their third match.
Danny Toala’s match-winning try will be forever etched into Moana Pasifika folklore securing the game against his former team with a final score of 24-19. Last year’s result ignited a healthy rivalry between the two franchises, so this year’s match is sure to entertain.
It’s a home coming for Moana Pasifika this weekend after returning from a three week tour in Australia. The team are thrilled to be playing at home in front of their loyal fans and will be paying homage to their grassroots by playing in their club and school socks.
Moana Pasifika recognizes the importance of acknowledging the pathways that our clubs and schools create for our players. There will be 19 schools and 12 clubs present on match day to support the team.
There are plenty of changes to this week’s side that will be captained by Christian Lealiifano in his 164th Super Rugby match.
Samiuela Moli returns to the starting team after being recognized as the most accurate hooker in the competition this season with a success rate of 95%. He joins Abraham Pole & Suetena Asomua in the front row.
Samuel Slade returns from a rib injury to pair with Mike Mckee in the second row this week. A reshuffle in the loose trio sees ‘Ikale Tahi flankers Solomone Funaki and Lotu Inisi in the 6 and 8 jerseys respectively, with Manu Samoa enforcer Alamanda Motuga on the openside.
Ereatara Enari will drive the game at halfback alongside Christian Lealiifano at first five. Henry Taefu receives his first start for the year after impressive interjections from the bench and will pair in the midfield with Levi Aumua.
Tima Fainga’anuku makes his first appearance for the year on the right wing. The Manawatū Turbos winger finished the Bunnings NPC with the most post-contact metres than any other player and is sure to be electrc for Moana Pasifika this year. His ‘Ikale Tahi teammats Anzelo Tuitavuki and William Havili will complete the back three.
To the bench, look for D’Angelo Leuila to make an impact in his first appearance of the season.
Tickets start from $8 and are available here.
Moana Pasifika v Hurricanes
Mount Smart Stadium
Saturday 25 March, 7.05pm
Unavailable due to injury: Sekope Kepu (achilles), Jack Lam (ankle), Penitoa Finau (foot), Jonathan Taumateine (hamstring), Alex McRobbie (shoulder), Michael Curry (neck).See all news