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Moana Pasifika player ratings vs Hurricanes | Super Rugby Pacific

By Nick Turnbull
(Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

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The New Zealand conference newcomers Moana Pasifika took on the might of the Hurricanes at Mt Smart Stadium this evening in search of their maiden tournament victory.

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Coach Aaron Mauger ushered in several changes including former Queensland Red and Samoan international Henry Taefu at second five and Manawatu’s own Veikoso Poloniati coming into a locking role for the injured Mike McKee.

The Hurricanes dominated both possession and territory in the first half. This coupled with a number of indiscretions by Moana Pasifika – which saw two yellow cards issued – ensured that Mauger’s men couldn’t build any genuine momentum yet somehow the teams went into the sheds at 7-apiece.

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For all their errors and ill-discipline, it was Moana Pasifika’s physicality and determination to stay in the contest that saw the teams locked at 19-19 at the end of regulation time and the match went into golden point.

And the miracle at Mt Smart occurred in the 83rd minute with reserve back Danny Toala scoring against the run of play after his side secured turnover the ball and exited with a kick downfield to which he chased and chased. The rest is now history.

This is how Moana Pasifika rated:

1. Ezekiel Lindenmuth – 5/10
Was valiant at the scrum but appears to lack some basic fundamentals of packing at the loosehead, particularly with his leg positioning. Was far too easily dissected away from his hooker.

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2. Samiuela Moli – 5
Like Lindenmuth, he had a torrid time at the scrum. It appeared his contact height on the engage was too high and that contributed to his scrum woes. Furthermore, didn’t nail his lineout at a crucial time. Handy effort around the park though.

3. Sekope Kepu – 5.5
Was the skipper of a heavily penalised team and the man himself was the recipient of a yellow card. Not good enough for a man of his experience. His scrummaging kept the Pasifika scrum credible at times and worked himself hard in defence.

4. Veikoso Poloniati – 6.5
A fair effort on debut. The big positive was his physicality in defence. He was tough and industrious however the downside was his ill discipline. However, a respectable start to his Super Rugby career.

5. Samuel Slade – 7.5
Didn’t offer much in the carry but was exceptionally physical in defence. There were moments in the match where his determination ignited those around him that won key moments. Well played, that man.

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6. Sione Tu’ipulotu – 5.5
Was tidy on the carry and was a handful for the Hurricanes in that aspect of the game. Yet had a questionable match defensively. Was replaced at half time.

7. Solomone Funaki – 8
An exceptional performance in defence and around the ball. He chimed in with back-row partner Time-Stowers to score an old fashioned second-man drive play through the breakdown to keep his side in the match.

8. Henry Time-Stowers – 8
Like his back row partner Funaki, he caused the Hurricanes problems all night in every aspect of the match. What was better is he did it all with a smile on his face. You could see he enjoyed his work tonight and the harder it got, the harder he worked. One to watch.

9 Jonathan Taumateine – 6.5
Not an easy task coming up against the great TJ Perenara but he handled himself admirably. Was particularly impressed with the rhythm and tempo he played with and the amount of ground he had to cover.

10. Christian Leali’ifano – 6.5
Managed his side around the park as a veteran of his calibre should. Was brave in contact and didn’t shirk defending in some narrow channels against some bigger bodies. Inspirational as ever.

11. Neria Foma’i – 5.5
Didn’t really find his way into the game and spent some time in the bin. But can always say he was part of rugby history.

12. Henry Taefu – 7
Very solid debut. His experience shone through at vital times, particularly in defence. An astute piece of recruiting as he was an able deputy to Leali’ifano.

13. Levi Aumua – 7
On the negative, he was ill-disciplined at times and spent some time on the sidelines. Yet in attack, he was an absolute handful for the Hurricanes and scored a well-deserved try. If he can fix the discipline, he will be one to watch.

14. Tima Fainga’anuku – 6
Had a fair crack and had his moments in attack but, as with his teammates, defensively there were some frailties tonight.

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15. William Havili – 6
A dangerous player in attack but could have chanced his arm more coming out of his own third. His option to kick when he had numbers outside frustrated but perhaps something he will work into.

Reserves:

16. Ray Niuia – 6
On debut and brought some genuine impact and some stability to the set-piece.

17. Taukiha’amea Koloamatagi – 6
Like Ray Niuia he had some work to do against a strong Hurricanes pack but he hung in there during some tough moments and contributed in getting his side home.

18. Joe ‘Apikotoa – 6
Went about his work with little fuss and helped steady the ship.

19. Alex McRobbie – 6
Bit to like about this bloke. He’s a smart operator who involved himself admirably in all aspects of forward play. Appears like he is up to this standard.

20. Josh Kaifa – 7
Grabbed a turnover and was urgent during his appearance. Did what was required to drive the momentum for his side.

21. Manu Paea – N/A
On late in the show.

22. Lincoln McClutchie – N/A
Surprisingly unused.

23. Danny Toala – 7
The man of the moment who secured Moana Pasifika’s first win. He will be an answer to a trivia question in years to come.

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