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Moana Pasifika player ratings vs Blues | Super Rugby Pacific

By Jack O'Rourke
(Photo by Fiona Goodall/Getty Images)

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Moana Pasifika played the Blues at Mt Smart Stadium in Auckland for the competition’s first cross-town clash on Tuesday night. It was a catch-up game for the two sides and it was only Moana Pasifika’s fourth game for the season.

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It was a bruising encounter, particularly in the forwards where there was some heavy contact. Early in the game, the Pasifika team were blown off the park at scrum time but were able to adjust and hung in with the Blues by muscling up in defence.

Moana Pasifika came out in the second half with plenty of energy and the game saw a huge momentum swing in their favour. Eventually, the Blues showed their class and outlasted their opposition to win the game 32-19, despite a courageous fightback from Moana Pasifika.

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Here’s how Moana Pasifika rated:

1. Abraham Pole – 5.5

Drafted into the Moana Pasifika side after starting Super Rugby in the Crusaders organisation. He and his fellow prop were outmuscled at scrum time early in the game, with the Blues winning one against the feed to set up their opening try. Scored a try shortly after half time.

2. Luteru Tolai – 6.5

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Was used as a human wrecking-ball in attack and it paid dividends, with Tolai crashing over for a try off a rampaging Moana Pasifika maul.

3. Joe ‘Apikotoa – 5

Was dominated by Hodgeman in the scrum and the forward pack had to adjust pretty quickly. Had some strong runs in broken play.

4. Michael Curry – 6.5

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Was a regular target in the lineout and worked hard in defence. Showed some athleticism by being able to offload in the tackle.

5. Xavier Cowley-Tuioti – 4.5

Struggled with an injury throughout the game.

6. Penitoa Finau – 6.5

Was a workhorse around the park and had a number of carries that broke the advantage line for Moana Pasifika.

7. Alamanda Motuga – 7

The Samoan international carried hard and led from the front in the forwards. Won some crucial turnovers and was abrasive in attack, adding to a dynamic backrow for Moana Pasifika.

8. Jack Lam – 7.5

Captaining the side for the first time, he brought much-needed experience to the MP forward pack. Copped a head-knock in the opening two minutes and left the field for an HIA but fortunately returned in the 18th minute. From there he worked hard all night and made 13 tackles.

9. Ereatara Enari – 6.5

The Moana Pasifika scrumhalf was able to spark the backline with plenty of energy, delivering crisp ball to McClutchie and his forwards running off the ruck. Put his team in position to score their opening try by peppering the Blues with box-kicks in their territory.

10. Lincoln McClutchie – 7.5

The exciting young flyhalf took on most of the open-field kicking duties, trying to get his team into an attacking position. Controlled the game nicely and showed a silky pair of hands to put his players through holes to break open the Blues defence. Pulled off a fantastic cross-field kick to put in his winger Alosio for an important try late in the game. Forming a nice combination with Enari.

11. Anzelo Tuitavuki – 6

The Hawkes Bay winger took the most of his opportunities on debut and ran for 57 metres. Perhaps was guilty at times of going himself instead of looking for support.

12. Solomone Kata – 7

Made his debut for the side after sustaining a preseason injury, and was back to his destructive best on his return to Mt Smart Stadium. Was unlucky not to score in the second half off a great breakout move. Was just as ferocious in defence and crunched Stephen Perofeta in the midfield.

13. Fine Inisi – 6.5

Showed some explosiveness to get on the outside of his opposition number to make some great runs. Was also impressive in defence, making 16 tackles during the game.

14. Tomasi Alosio – 6

Scored a spectacular try, jumping high to gather in a well-placed cross-field kick from McClutchie. Besides that he was very well contained, and the ball rarely found itself to his wing.

15. D’Angelo Leuila – 6.5

Has big wraps on him, and looked dangerous at times when choose to come up and play flat in the backline. Was lucky not to be given a yellow card for taking out Jacob Ratumaitavuki-Kneepkens in the air during the first half.

Reserves:

16. Joe Royal – N/A

Got limited minutes but shored up the scrum.

17. Suetene Asomua – N/A

Came on as a replacement late in the game.

18. Chris Apoua – 6

Brought some impact off the bench and used his big frame to bust through the Blues forwards.

19. Alex McRobbie – 6

Came on at around the 50th minute mark and put effort into defence, making 7 tackles.

20. Josh Kaifa – N/A

Came off the bench early for Lam, and was impressive. Returned to the bench 20 minutes later and didn’t get back on until late in the game.

21. Dwayne Polataivao – N/A

The Samoa scrumhalf made it on the field in the 77th minute.

22. Nigel Ah Wong – N/A

Came on with five minutes to go. His first touch was a knock-on.

23. Lolagi Visinia – 6.5

Entered the action in the 56th minute and put his hand up for plenty of hard carries close to the action. Looked powerful with ball in hand.

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