Head Coach Aaron Mauger applauded a superb performance from his Super Rugby side that ended their 2022 season with a thrilling 32 – 22 win over the Brumbies at Mt Smart Stadium tonight.
“Heading into the week, we had a sense the boys were in a really good place for this one and I thought we adapted really well early on. The Brumbies were awesome around the collision, and we were probably a little high early one, but once we got our body height and acceleration right through contact a little bit better we were able to build a bit more pressure.”
“There was a lot of desire there to put in a good performance.”
Mauger noted in particular that Joe ‘Apikotoa stepped up after skipper Sekope Kepu was red-carded early in the first half, and the moment seemed to galvanise the young side.
“I thought Joe had his best game in a Moana jersey tonight. You could tell he was giving it everything for skip as well. I think the other boys really lifted as well in that moment.
“So it just shows that that type of performance is in us. It’s only going to be a positive thing going forward,” Mauger said after the game.
“I thought the players were outstanding. At half time there was a calmness and clarity, the best it’s been all year. It was awesome to put in a finish to the season that way.”
Although marred by the red card, skipper Sekope Kepu was humbled after he was acknowledged post match for marking his 150th Super Rugby milestone. He acknowledged the outstanding effort of his team mates,
“I’m super, super proud of the guys. I couldn’t be more proud. I don’t think anyone has done it tougher than what we’ve been dealt. The way the team played out of their skin, tonight – the passion, the power and excitement.”
“The positive is that everyone has had taste of rugby, everyone has had a go, know what is expected and the level Super Rugby is played at. No one has ever done it the way we have. I’m so proud of the boys.”
A special presentation to mark Kepu’s milestone match, was made by Sir Bryan Williams at the end of the match.
Moana Pasifika will celebrate the best of their debut season at their first ever Moana Pasifika Awards night on Tuesday 31 May.See all news