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Just one change for Moana Pasifika as Waratahs challenge looms

By Online Editors
(Photo by Fiona Goodall/Getty Images)

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Moana Pasifika return to Mount Smart stadium at 4:30pm on Saturday 7 May to play the NSW Waratahs in round 12 of DHL Super Rugby Pacific.

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The match is significant for captain Sekope Kepu as he will play against the team he previously served for 141 games. Similarly, this game could see Christian Leali’ifano etched into Super Rugby folklore as he is just nine points away from reaching 1,000 Super Rugby points.

There are just three changes to the Moana Pasifika that narrowly went down to the Melbourne Rebels by 26 points to 22.

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The tight five remains the same with try-scorer Abraham Pole at loosehead prop, Ray Niuia at hooker and Kepu on the tighthead side of the scrum.

Samuel Slade and Veikoso Poloniati combine at lock and complete the engine room.

A cheek fracture to Alamanda Motuga sees Solomone Funaki elevated to the starting lineup. He is complemented by Michael Curry and Henry Time-Stowers in the loose forwards.

There are no changes to the backline from Saturday night’s game at AAMI Park in Melbourne.

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Ereatara Enari and Christian Leali’ifano have proven to be a formidable combination and retain the 9 and 10 jerseys respectively for another week.

Henry Taefu and Levi Aumua will pair in the midfield with MVP Timoci Tavatavanawai on the left wing and Tima Fainga’anuku on the right wing. Danny Toala rounds out the starting XV.

Alex McRobbie and Jack Lam come on to the bench after recovering from a concussion and knee injury, respectively.

Moana Pasifika: Danny Toala, Tima Fainga’anuku, Levi Aumua, Henry Taefu, Timoci Tavatavanawai, Christian Lealiifano, Ereatara Enari, Henry Time-Stowers, Solomone Funaki, Michael Curry, Samuel Slade, Veikoso Poloniati, Sekope Kepu, Ray Niuia, Abraham Pole. Reserves: Luteru Tolai, Ezekiel Lindenmuth, Joe Apikotoa, Alex McRobbie, Jack Lam, Jonathan Taumateine, Lincoln McClutchie, Solomone Kata.

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– Moana Pasifika

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