Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

“It’s no good to only do it for 60 minutes, we’ve got to do it for the full 80” – Moana coach calls for big effort for home clash against Hurricanes

Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air
Aaron Mauger (Head Coach Moana Pasifika). Photo: Supplied
Aaron Mauger, Head Coach of Moana Pasifika. Photo: Supplied

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Neueli Mauafu | Reporter

“It doesn’t matter who we have in front of us, we can put any team under pressure.” 

It’s a statement Moana Pasifika head coach Aaron Mauger confidently stands by. 

Coming off a loss to the Brumbies in their last match of the Australia tour, Mauger believes the game could’ve gone either way.

He says it was a couple of “soft moments” from their end that led to the Brumbies taking the win. It was a sad end for Moana given that they were only behind by seven points at half time.

“We’ve highlighted what we are doing well and that we can go toe to toe with any team,” he says.

“Hopefully we can get right for 80 minutes and then we can get the right outcomes for the coming weeks.” 

Heading into this weekend’s match against the Hurricanes, Moana will look for motivation from their home fans who’re set to pack out Mt Smart stadium for Saturday’s fixture. 

After three weeks in Australia, the return home is a blessing not just for the fans but the players too.

Ball security and breakdowns are an area Mauger hopes to improve on ahead of the match. 

Moana Pasifika playmaker Christian Lealiifano. Photo: Moana Pasifika
Moana Pasifika playmaker Christian Lealiifano. Photo: Moana Pasifika

With an incredible depth at loose forwards in the Hurricanes, the likes of Ardie Savea and Du Plessis Kirifi, Mauger knows his forwards will have to be on their A game.

“Probably the big issue for us last week was that we lost a couple of races to secure our own ball. That meant we lost about three or four opportunities to keep on putting pressure.

“It’s good seeing our Pacific island boys contributing for the other franchises.”

Last time the two teams met at Mt Smart stadium, the game headed to golden point with Danny Toala scoring the winning try for Moana’s maiden Super Rugby victory. It was a historic moment for the club who were only three games into last year’s season.

Fast forward to this year, Mauger isn’t letting last year’s winning antics be a factor for Saturday’s game in what could possibly develop into a fierce rivalry between the two teams.

“I’m not too sure about this being a rivalry,” Mauger says.

“I think every week is a rivalry for us, and we’re trying to win a game of footy. I’m sure they will be respecting us, as much as we respect them.”

Hoping to make their mark for Moana this week are a trio of backs. 

Midfielder Henry Taefu earns his first start for the year in the number 12 jersey, Tima Fainga’anuku will also make his first appearance for the year after a stellar Bunnings NPC season with the Manawatu Turbos and Back utility D’Angelo Leuila will come off the bench in what will also be his first appearance for the year.

Tickets for the match can be purchased here

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