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Ex-Whangarei Boys High School 1st XV captain set for Super homecoming

By Finn Morton
Allan Craig of Moana Pasifika is tackled during the round two Super Rugby Pacific match between Moana Pasifika and Fijian Drua at AAMI Park, on March 02, 2024, in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images)

Former Whangarei Boys High School First XV captain Allan Craig will play his first Super Rugby Pacific match in the city on Friday evening when Moana Pasifika host the Queensland Reds.

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Craig, now 21, spent his teenage years in Northland, where he went on to captain the Whangarei Boys High First XV.

The youngster, who has also played for Northland in New Zealand’s National Provincial Competition (NPC), will play “in front of my home crowd” this week when Moana Pasifika host a fixture at Semenoff Stadium. Craig will run out in the No. 5 jersey.

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“Being born and raised there, playing for the Tanis (Taniwha) was a huge goal growing up and getting to do that means lot,” Craig said in a statement.

“Now getting to play a Super game there, it will be awesome to play in front of my home crowd.

“It’s going to be an awesome place to play,” assistant coach Stephen Jones added. “I’ve never been there and I’ve heard great things about the group and the place.

“I know for Allan Craig it’s extra special and will be a proud moment for him and his family.”

Moana Pasifika have made three changes to their team this week with Abraham Pole, Samiuela Moli and Sione Mafileo named to start in the front row.

Head-to-Head

Last 3 Meetings

Wins
1
Draws
0
Wins
2
Average Points scored
22
29
First try wins
67%
Home team wins
67%

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Joining Craig in the second row is Tom Savage, while Irie Papuni, Jacob Norris and captain Sione Havili Talitui complete the starting forwards for the round eight clash.

In the backline, Ereatara Enari and William Havili will start in the halves, while Danny Toala will wear the No. 15 jersey.

Former All Black Julian Savea will line up at inside centre once again, with Henry Taefu will join the legendary try scorer in the midfield. Fine Inisi and Viliami Fine are the two wingers.

Moana Pasifika side to take on Queensland Reds

  1. Abraham Pole
  2. Samiuela Moli
  3. Sione Mafileo
  4. Tom Savage
  5. Allan Craig
  6. Irie Papuni
  7. Jacob Norris
  8. Sione Havili Talitui (c)
  9. Ereatara Enari
  10. William Havili
  11. Fine Inisi
  12. Julian Savea
  13. Henry Taefu
  14. Viliami Fine
  15. Danny Toala

Replacements:

  1. Sama Malolo
  2. Sateki Latu
  3. Sekope Kepu
  4. Ola Tauelangi
  5. Miracle Failagi
  6. Melani Matavao
  7. Christian Lealiifano
  8. Nigel Ah Wong

Unavailable due to injury/illness: Alamanda Motuga, Anzelo Tuitavuki, James Lay, Jonatan Taumateine, Kyren Taumoefolau, Lalomilo Lalomilo, Lotu Inisi, Neria Fomai, Ofa Tauatevalu, Pepesana Patafilo, Samuel Slade, Solomone Funaki

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Jon 1 days ago
Why Sam Cane's path to retirement is perfect for him and the All Blacks

> It would be best described as an elegant solution to what was potentially going to be a significant problem for new All Blacks coach Scott Robertson. It is a problem the mad population of New Zealand will have to cope with more and more as All Blacks are able to continue their careers in NZ post RWCs. It will not be a problem for coaches, who are always going to start a campaign with the captain for the next WC in mind. > Cane, despite his warrior spirit, his undoubted commitment to every team he played for and unforgettable heroics against Ireland in last year’s World Cup quarter-final, was never unanimously admired or respected within New Zealand while he was in the role. Neither was McCaw, he was considered far too passive a captain and then out of form until his last world cup where everyone opinions changed, just like they would have if Cane had won the WC. > It was never easy to see where Cane, or even if, he would fit into Robertson’s squad given the new coach will want to be building a new-look team with 2027 in mind. > Cane will win his selections on merit and come the end of the year, he’ll sign off, he hopes, with 100 caps and maybe even, at last, universal public appreciation for what was a special career. No, he won’t. Those returning from Japan have already earned the right to retain their jersey, it’s in their contract. Cane would have been playing against England if he was ready, and found it very hard to keep his place. Perform, and they keep it however. Very easy to see where Cane could have fit, very hard to see how he could have accomplished it choosing this year as his sabbatical instead of 2025, and that’s how it played out (though I assume we now know what when NZR said they were allowing him to move his sabbatical forward and return to NZ next year, they had actually agreed to simply select him for the All Blacks from overseas, without any chance he was going to play in NZ again). With a mammoth season of 15 All Black games they might as well get some value out of his years contract, though even with him being of equal character to Richie, I don’t think they should guarantee him his 100 caps. That’s not what the All Blacks should be about. He absolutely has to play winning football.

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