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Moana Pasifika player ratings vs Blues | Super Rugby Pacific

By Tom Vinicombe
Alex McRobbie. (Photo by Brett Phibbs/Photosport)

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For the second time in the space of a week, Moana Pasifika and the Blues took the field to fight out the title of ‘best Super Rugby side in Auckland’.

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While Moana Pasifika were able to largely keep pace with their opposition at Mt Smart on Tuesday, that wasn’t the case at Eden Park. The visitors may have come out swinging from the kick-off but the Blues pulled away late in the first half and continued to build the margin in the second stanza.

Moana Pasifika will rue some missed opportunities throughout but it was their issues at set-piece time that continued to make it difficult for them to build any ascendency over their opposition.

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How did Moana Pasifika rate in the 46-16 defeat?

1. Ezekiel Lindenmuth – 6
It was a weird night at scrum time, with Moana Pasifika looking formidable when not feeding the scrum, but struggling on their own put in. A willing carrier of the ball and defended stoutly. Unlucky to have one try scrubbed out. Off in 62nd minute.

2. Samiuela Moli – 4
Really struggled at lineout time, either missing his man or lobbing the ball completely over the top (though perhaps that was a tactic). Picked up some good metres on attack but somehow managed just one tackle throughout the contest. Threw a dodgy skip pass that Bryce Heem plucked out of the air which eventually resulted in the Blues’ second try. Off in 52nd minute.

3. Sekope Kepu – 5
Similar situation to Lindenmuth, it was hard to tell who had the dominant scrum for the first 60 minutes but Moana Pasifika dropped off in a big way once Kepu left the park. Off in 52nd minute.

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4. Veikoso Poloniati – 5
Fell off a few tackles but put his hand up to cart the ball forward on attack. One good pick-and-go near the line and then an offload to Tomasi Alosio gave Moana Pasifika their first try. Copped two penalties. Off in 68th minute.

5. Alex McRobbie – 6.5
The key man in the lineout for Moana Pasifika – things didn’t always function well but McRobbie was a safe option at all times. Made a nice half-break during Moana Pasifika’s first attacking skirmish. Certainly looks to be worth of starting regularly.

6. Sione Tuipulotu – 4
Challenged at the breakdown but drifted in and out of the match, not making a big impact on either side of the ball. Off in 46th minute.

 

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7. Solomone Funaki – 6
Put in some nice hits on defence and ran some great lines in the wider channels. Secured two breakdown penalties early in the first 30 minutes. Copped two himself towards the end of the first half for illegal play at the maul and was probably lucky to remain on the pitch. Incurred another one for the same offence at the beginning of the second spell.

8. Henry Time-Stowers – 7
His power running game wasn’t as prominent as we’ve become accustomed to but still churned through the most metres out of any Moana Pasifika player on the field as well as topping the tackle count. An important figure for the Pacific Islanders.

9. Ereatara Enari – 5
One poor box-kick effectively handed the Blues their first opportunity points of the game by putting his teammates in an offside position. That aside, looked relatively sharp early on but some inaccuracy crept into his game as the match wore on. Off in 74th minute.

10. Christian Lealiifano – 6.5
Showed good incisiveness at first receiver, taking on the line for some solid yardage. Threw an intercept pass early in the second half then tried to pilfer the ball at the ensuing ruck to make amends but instead conceded a penalty. Kicked all his goals and generally still looks capable of playing at this level.

11. Timoci Tavatavanawai – 6
His attacking abilities were on full display in the final half-hour but one drop with the line begging will haunt him. One nice steal from a kick-off. Earned one breakdown penalty too. Slipped on defence, giving Heem an easy run to the line. Off in 52nd minute.

12. Solomone Kata – 6.5
Generally the most damaging Moana Pasifika player with ball in hand, chalking up meters with every carry regardless of the attention he received. Knocked the ball on cold from a scrum.

13. Nigel Ah Wong – 5
Did well to snare the ball from a kick-off. Busy on defence, less so on attack. Off in 68th minute.

14. Tomasi Alosio – 6
Scored a well-taken try running off the shoulder of his lock. Started to get more involved as the game wore on and made one nice break down the right wing, only to be taken out by a Caleb Clarke charge down.

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15. William Havili – 5.5
Perhaps his most composed display at this level. Mixed his kicking and his running game well and looks to be growing into his role.

Reserves:

16. Luteru Tolai
On in 52nd minute. Better delivery at the lineout than the man he replaced.

17. Abraham Pole – 4.5
On in 62nd minute. Busy on defence. Unsurprisingly struggled against the might of Ofa Tuungafasi late in the piece.

18. Chris Apoua – 4
On in 52nd minute. Same issues as his fellow reserve prop.

19. Mahroni Ngakuru – N/A
On in 68th minute for his debut.

20. Alamanda Motuga – 5
On in 46th minute. Knocked the ball on with his first carry when Moana Pasifika were just five metres out from the try line. Made one nice break down the left-hand sideline.

21. Dwayne Polataivao – N/A
Off in 74th minute.

22. Lincoln McClutchie – N/A
On in 68th minute. Made one nice wee break.

23. Fine Anisi – 4
On in 52nd minute. Couldn’t get involved in the same way as the man he replaced.

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