Moana Pasifika’s dhl Super Rugby roster for the 2023 season has been named and the team’s selectors have shown they believe in miracles.
That is the miracle of Fai’ilagi. Fai’ilagi, 23, benefited from the visit of coaches Aaron Mauger and Filo Tiatia to World Rugby in Fiji.
The combine is the gateway to the Pacific Islands national team, allowing players to experience a high-performance program. In September, top players from Samoa, Tonga and Fiji were placed in an intensive training environment similar to a professional team.
The purpose of Mauger and Tiatia’s presence at the meeting was to offer Moana Pasifika a training contract for the two players.
Instead, they were so impressed with Fai’ilagi’s physical fitness, game intelligence and professionalism that they signed him to a full-time contract.
“Miracle is a natural leader who exudes humility, respect and tautua,” Mauger said. [service]A former rugby sevens player for Samoa, he has a solid base of fitness, a high work rate and a tough attitude. He’s not afraid to stick his head into dark places and has high ceilings. “
Coaches have discovered a lot of untapped talent in the game and say Fai’ilagi is just one of several players who have caught their attention.
“These youngsters have responded so well for the first time in a professional environment that we have awarded five more players pre-season training contracts.”
Also joining the squad are Otago mainstay Abraham Pole from New Zealand, Waikato and Manu Samoa front five eighth D’Angelo Leuila, Tasman lock Mahonri Ngakuru and North Harbor loose striker Michael Curry.
Bol played nine games last year as Moana Pacifica’s permanently injured backup, scoring on four attempts and securing a starting job
Leuila can also cover midfielders and defenders.
“D’Angelo spent time with us last year and we set some challenges for him to earn a full contract. He rose to the challenge with another great NPC season. He’s a strong ball handler, Plays well and really sees the space well,” Mauger said.
Ngakuru played five games for the team last year, and Tiatia said his volleyball confidence and willingness to learn showed.
“His NPC performance really caught our attention, and you could see him take up a lot of the challenges we gave him at the end of the season,” he said.
Mogg said giving Curry a contract was “a no-brainer” after his work ethic impressed both on and off the court.
With the ability to do a full preseason instead of the three weeks last season, Mauger said he is looking forward to working with a more mature team that will develop into 2022.
The team will play their first game of the season at Mount Smart on February 25 against Deruah Fiji.
The Moana Pasifika players are: Abraham Ball, Alamanda Motuga, Alex McRobbie, Chris Apua, Ezekiel Lindenmuth, Issy Thunjafassi, Jack Lim, Joe Apikotoa, Lotu Inesi, Lutru Tolai, Mahonli Ngakuru, Michael Curry, Mike McKee, Miracle Fairaj, Penitoa Fur Noah, Ray Niuia, Samiuela Moli, Samuel Slade, Sekope Kepu, Sione Tu’ipulotu, Solomone Funaki, Taukiha’amea Koloamatangi; Anzelo Tuitavuki, Christian Leali’ifano, D’Angelo Leuila, Danny Toala, Ereatara Enari, Fine Inisi, Henry Taefu, Jonathan Taumateine, Levi Aumua, Lincoln McClutchie, Lolagi Visinia, Manu Paea, Neria Foma’i, Tima Fainga’anuku, Timoci Tavatavanawai, Tomasi Alosio, William Havili.