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Just one change for Moana Pasifika as Waratahs challenge looms

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

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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Why Super Rugby Pacific is still not yet where it needs to be.

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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.

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

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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.

– Moana Pasifika

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mitch 1 hours ago
The Wallabies team Joe Schmidt must pick to win back Bledisloe Cup

Rodda will be a walk up starter at lock. Frost if you analyse his dominance has little impact and he’s a long way from being physical enough, especially when you compare to Rodda and the work he does. He was quite poor at the World Cup in his lack of physicality. Between Rodda and Skelton we would have locks who can dominate the breakdown and in contact. Frost is maybe next but Schmidt might go for a more physical lock who does their core work better like Ryan or LSL. Swain is no chance unless there’s a load of injuries. Pollard hasn’t got the scrum ability yet to be considered. Nasser dominated him when they went toe to toe and really showed him up. Picking Skelton effects who can play 6 and 8. Ideally Valetini would play 6 as that’s his best position and Wilson at 8 but that’s not ideal for lineout success. Cale isn’t physical enough yet in contact and defence but is the best backrow lineout jumper followed by Wright, Hanigan and Swinton so unfortunately Valetini probably will start at 8 with Wright or Hanigan at 6. Wilson on the bench, he’s got too much quality not to be in the squad. Paisami is leading the way at 12 but Hamish Stewart is playing extremely well also and his ball carrying has improved significantly. Beale is also another option based on the weekend. Beale is class but he’s also the best communicator of any Australian backline player and that can’t be underestimated, he’ll be in the mix.

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