Umaga and Taumoefolau set for milestones in Perth

Fa’alogo Tana Umaga will notch up his 50th match as a head coach when Moana Pasifika face the Western Force in Perth this Saturday (NZT).

Umaga says he’s focused on the game ahead but is grateful to reach the feat.

“For me it’s about the team and how we’re going. But it’s an achievement and we’ll tick it off. Hopefully we’ll get a celebration after a good performance by us on the weekend,” Umaga said.

Moana Pasifika rookie Kyren Taumoefolau will also achieve a milestone making his first DHL Super Rugby Pacific start at left wing.

Taumoefolau continues to go from strength to strength, hailing from Marlborough and at 20 years of age he’s already played on the biggest rugby stage.

In 2023 he played for the ‘Ikale Tahi at the Rugby World Cup and has also represented Tonga on the World Sevens Circuit.

Last year he was part of the Moana Pasifika U20s team and has now been promoted after joining as a development player in 2024.

Debuting for Moana Pasifika against the Fijian Drua at Super Round in Melbourne, the explosive back has a tremendous work rate and game awareness, with an ability to make an impact in a short space of time. 

Taumoefolau gets another chance to display his strike power and is humbled by the selection.

“I was so happy and excited, I couldn’t wait to tell my family and friends. I’m grateful for the opportunity to showcase my talent and represent my team and family this weekend in Perth,” Taumoefolau said.

“The boys have been really welcoming and it’s been so good to learn off some of the greats in the game. The culture that Moana has allows me to play freely and gives me confidence to play my game.” 

Umaga has named a mostly unchanged side to face the Force with some players switching between the bench and the starting 15.

Hard-working flanker Sione Havili Talitui will continue in the captaincy role while Sama Malolo returns to hooker.

Leaders Christian Lealiifano and Sekope Kepu move into the starting lineup, and Nigel Ah Wong also rejoins the backline at right wing.

Unavailable due to injury: Alamanda Motuga, James Lay, Jonathan Taumateine, Miracle Faiilagi, Ofa Tauatevalu, Samuel Slade, Solomone Funaki.


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