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'They put us to the sword': Sekope Kepu calls for improved discipline from Moana Pasifika

By Ben Smith
(Photo by Fiona Goodall/Getty Images)

Moana Pasifika captain Sekope Kepu says the lack of execution in the first half hurt combined with poor discipline his side against the Chiefs as the momentum begun to swing in the visitor’s favour after the near misses.

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After Kaleb Trask opened the scoring, Moana Pasifika hit straight back through left winger Neria Fomai after a great cutout pass from former Wallabies playmaker Christian Lealiifano.

At 7-all after 20 minutes, Kepu’s side had multiple chances in the first half to come away with tries but were turned away by a resilient Chiefs defence.

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Aotearoa Rugby Pod | Episode 25
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“Coach talked about mentality. At this level, you gotta nail your set-piece, you gotta nail those opportunities you get and if you don’t nail those one or two opportunities that we didn’t nail in the first half, then the game changes, momentum swings, we’re back in our half,” Kepu said.

“Against a good team like the Chiefs, they’ll punish you. I think nailing those little details, those opportunities that we’ll get, we’ve got to turn them into points at least. We’ve
gotta be better there.

“It’s all about that mentality and just executing.”

Discipline became an issue admits Kepu, who was guilty at times himself getting caught on the wrong side of the whistle. A lopsided penalty count of 14-4 against Moana Pasifika paved the way for the Chiefs to put on six second half tries and turn the game into a romp.

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“A couple of times there, I’ll put my hand up, you get caught on the wrong side and at this level you get pinged for that and you get marched 40 metres,” Kepu said.

“We spoke about it at halftime and then again we didn’t execute afterwards. We’ll look at that hard and we’ll learn from it
definitely.

“That’s all I can say, we need to be better around that area, definitely.”

In preparation for this week’s fixture, Moana Pasifika spoke about the Chiefs’ culture as they look to forge their own identity and culture in Super Rugby and Kepu said they are very similar to the Crusaders.

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“We spoke about their mana. We spoke about their culture they’ve built down there for the last few years now,” he said.

“Very similar to the Crusaders. They’ve got a good core group of guys there and coaching staff. Whatever team they field, they’re always gonna be there or thereabouts.

“They put us to the sword tonight and when they got their opportunities, they nailed them.”

Kepu hoped the side would ‘flush’ the result after being away from home for five weeks as they look to rebound against the Hurricanes next week.

The former Wallaby said whilst being away in Queenstown was great for team-bonding, the team has only been together since January 5 and expectations need to be kept in perspective as they build a team.

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