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Moana Pasifika ring changes following historic Hurricanes win

Monday 28 March 2022 | Written by RNZ | Published in Pacific Islands, Regional

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Moana Pasifika ring changes following historic Hurricanes win
Former Manu Samoa skipper Jack Lam will become the first Samoan to captain Moana Pasifika. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Fresh from the club's historic first ever win, Moana Pasifika have rung the changes for tomorrow night's rescheduled Super Rugby Pacific clash against the Blues at Mount Smart Stadium.

Eleven players set to make their Moana Pasifika debut on Tuesday, with head coach Aaron Mauger using the full depth of his squad with only a four-day turnaround from Friday's historic win against the Hurricanes.ever win, Moana Pasifika have rung the changes for tomorrow night's rescheduled Super Rugby Pacific clash against the Blues at Mount Smart Stadium.

After playing for the Crusaders in Moana Pasifika's first match, prop Abraham Pole will make his debut for Moana Pasifika as a permanent replacement for the season.

Elsewhere in the forward pack, Michael Curry and Xavier Cowley-Tuioti debut together in the second row, Penitoa Finau earns his first Super Rugby cap on the blindside flank and Manu Samoa legend Jack Lam gets the nod at number eight and becomes the first Samoan to captain Moana Pasifika.

"This is a great opportunity for our players making their debut to put their hand up. We have a lot of trust in our squad and these men have all been working incredibly hard," Aaron Mauger said.

Out wide, Fine Inisi gets his first start for Moana Pasifika at centre, while there are debutants across the entire back three with Hawke's Bay Magpies winger Anzelo Tuitavuki selected on the left wing, former Manu Samoa sevens star Tomasi Alosio on the right and Manu Samoa utility back D'Angelo Leuila getting the nod at fullback.

Counties Manukau prop Suetena Asomua and former Southland front-rower Chris Apoua are hoping to gain their first caps off the bench, while former Blues and Hurricanes fullback Lolagi Visinia and Tonga rugby and league international Solomone Kata are also poised to make their club debut from the reserves.

Anzelo Tuitavuki is among 11 Moana Pasifika new caps named to face the Blues.
Anzelo Tuitavuki is among 11 Moana Pasifika new caps named to face the Blues. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Meanwhile the Blues have also made wholesale changes from the team that beat the Highlanders on Saturday.

Four debutants have been named in the starting fifteen, while 12 players in the run-on side have three Blues caps or less.

Both teams are playing three games in the space of eight days, while Moana Pasifika are in the midst of a brutal run of six games in 23 days to make up for Covid-19 enforced delays.

Moana Pasifika squad:

1. Abraham Pole (debut), 2. Luteru Tolai, 3. Joe 'Apikotoa, 4. Michael Curry (debut), 5. Xavier Cowley-Tuioti (debut), 6. Penitoa Finau (debut), 7.Alamanda Motuga, 8. Jack Lam (c), 9.Ereatara Enari, 10. Lincoln McClutchie, 11. Anzelo Tuitavuki (debut), 12. Henry Taefu, 13. Fine Inisi, 14.Tomasi Alosio (debut), 15. D'Angelo Leuila (debut).

Reserves: 16. Ray Niuia, 17. Suetena Asomua (debut), 18. Chris Apoua (debut), 19. Alex McRobbie, 20. Josh Kaifa, 21.Manu Paea, 22. Solomone Kata (debut), 23. Lolagi Visinia (debut).