The Moana Pasifika side to play an historic first match against the Maori All Blacks presented by Sky has been named.
Head Coach Fa’alogo Tana Umaga has named an impressively experienced rugby side, naming Manu Samoa international and Crusaders front rowers, Michael Alaalatoa as captain.
The side includes 66 international test caps, and seven who played in Mitre 10 Cup finals last weekend. Marino Mikaele-Tu’u and Folau Fakatava helped Hawke’s Bay secure a Championship Final last Friday, while Auckland’s Leni Apisai and Salesi Rayasi are now in the same side as Tasman champions – Dwayne Polataivao, Leicester Faingaanuku, Fetuli Paea – who edged them out of Saturday’s epic Mitre 10 Cup Premiership Final title.
Head Coach Fa’alogo Tana Umaga said the squad had had a good preparation week and they were pleased to have a strong squad from which to select.
“We think we have picked a team that can do the job, but the reality is that we picked from a strong squad, and we know every player chose to be here, and that’s a big deal.
“We have a total 66 international test caps in the side – these guys know how to play rugby, so our focus this week has been on our purpose as a group.
“This is a really special match, and it’s been a very special week. We’ve really enjoyed being able to come together with common cultures, common stories, and rugby.
“We’re really pleased to name Michael (Alaalatoa) as our captain. On the field, Mike works hard on his rugby, and he works hard for any team he’s in. He’s a quiet, but formidable figure for the Crusaders and a stalwart for Manawatu. Mike is someone who is a Pasifika man at the heart of him, and I know he and his family were very proud when he was selected for Samoa’s 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan last year.”
The match at FMG Stadium Waikato, Hamilton kicks off at 7:05pm on Saturday night.
Moana Pasifika side to take on Maori All Blacks
1. Daniel Lienert-Brown
2. Leni Apisai
3. Michael Alaalatoa (c)
4. Gerard Cowley-Tuioti
5. Naitoa Ah Kuoi
6. Peseta Marino Mikaele-Tu’u
7. Alamanda Motuga
8. Pita-Gus Sowakula
9. Folau Fakatava
10. Josh Ioane
11. Salesi Rayasi
12. Vince Aso
13. Fetuli Paea
14. Leicester Faingaanuku
15. Stephen Perofeta
16. Samisoni Taukie’aho
17. Jordan Lay
18. Sione Mafielo
19. Samipeni Finau
20. Nasi Manu
21. Dwayne Polataivao
22. Asaeli Tikoroituma
23. Taimalelagi aEtene Nanai-Seturo
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