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Moana Pasifika sign Tasman star to add Fijian flavour to squad

By Alex McLeod

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Moana Pasifika have signed their first player of Fijian heritage by adding exciting Tasman Mako wing Timoci Tavatavanawai to their ranks ahead of the inaugural Super Rugby Pacific season.

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Tavatavanawai has burst onto the New Zealand rugby scene this year with a string of compelling performances for Tasman in their current NPC campaign.

Standing at 1.87m and 111kg, the former Fiji Schools and Fiji U20 representative is a strong and powerful wing who has wreaked havoc against opposition defences with his fleet-footedness in his seven appearances for the Mako this year.

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During that time, the 23-year-old has scored four tries and has drawn comparisons by some to Flying Fijians star Josua Tuisova.

Tavatavanawai’s talents were first recognised at Super Rugby level by Crusaders boss Scott Robertson, who plucked him out of club rugby in Marlborough to take part in pre-season training earlier this year.

Despite having never played first-class rugby in New Zealand, he proved his worth by scoring two second half tries off the bench to help instigate a comeback victory for the Crusaders in their Farmlands Cup clash against the Highlanders in Temuka eight months ago.

That pre-season fixture was the only time he featured for the Crusaders, though, as he was instead called into the Highlanders squad as injury cover during Super Rugby Trans-Tasman, but didn’t take to the field for the Dunedin-based franchise.

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Nevertheless, Tavatavanawai will no doubt look to make a home for himself on the wing with Moana Pasifika, where he will compete with the likes of Lolagi Visinia, Neria Foma’i and Tomasi Alosio for starting roles.

Confirmed Moana Pasifika signings for 2022 Super Rugby Pacific

Props: Sekope Kepu (Counties Manukau)

Hookers: N/A

Locks: Don Lolo (Taieri), Mike McKee (Southland), Veikoso Poloniati (Manawatu)

Loose Forwards: Solomone Funaki (Hawke’s Bay), Lotu Inisi (North Harbour), Jack Lam (Waikato), Alamanda Motuga (Counties Manukau), Henry Time-Stowers (Canterbury), Sione Tu’ipulotu (Auckland)

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Halfbacks: Ereatara Enari (Crusaders)

First-Fives: Christian Leali’ifano (NTT Communications Shining Arcs), Lincoln McClutchie (Hawke’s Bay)

Midfielders: Fine Inisi (North Harbour), Henry Taefu (Western Force), Danny Toala (Hurricanes)

Outside Backs: Tomasi Alosio (Wellington), Neria Foma’i (Hawke’s Bay), Timoci Tavatavanawai (Tasman), Lolagi Visinia (Hurricanes)

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Moana Pasifika sign Tasman star to add Fijian flavour to squad

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