The first-ever clash between the Maori All Blacks and Moana Pasifika promised fireworks from the kick-off, but the pre-match challenges have set the tone for the match ahead.

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Facing off against each other for the first time in their histories – the encounter being Moana Pasifika’s debut appearance – the two sides laid down their respective challenges in front of a decent crowd at FMG Stadium Waikato in Hamilton.

Moana Pasifika were the first side to perform their pre-match ritual, with plenty of intrigue surrounding how exactly the side would integrate the cultures of Fiji, Samoa and Tonga in their performance.

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That question was soon answered as the composite side, which is expected to join Super Rugby in 2022, borrowed elements of Samoa’s siva tau, Tonga’s sipi tau and Fiji’s cibi to create a special cultural dance that represented all three Pacific Island nations.

The Samoan segment of the performance was led by team captain and Manu Samoa prop Michael Alaalatoa, while the Tongan part was led by ‘Ikale Tahi loose forward Nasi Manu, and the Fijian section led by Chiefs No. 8 Pita Gus Sowakula.

Their challenge was responded to appropriately by the Maori All Blacks, who performed a stirring rendition of their haka Te Timatanga.

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Fans have since taken to Twitter in awe of both side’s challenges, with one user labelling the exchange as a “perfect” way to precede the match itself.

Another called for the Maori All Blacks and Moana Pasifika match to become an annual fixture on the rugby calendar, echoing the sentiments of two-test hooker James Parsons and Maori All Blacks halfback Bryn Hall on the Aotearoa Rugby Pod.

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