Moana Pasifika's Super Rugby debut is further delayed

Moana Pasifika's long-awaited Super Rugby debut has been delayed further by the postponement to the second round match against Chiefs.

Moana Pasifika's Super Rugby debut is further delayed

The Pasifika team, made up mostly of Samoan and Tongan heritage, was scheduled to play in the Super Rugby Pacific tournament's first match last Friday. The match was canceled after seven members of the squad tested positive for COVID-19.

The team members are currently at Queenstown, South Island, to relax before the New Zealand section begins.

Moana Pasifika was scheduled to face the Chiefs on Friday, but it was originally pushed back to Sunday due to concerns that the team wouldn't have enough time to prepare.

The match was also postponed due to concerns about the safety of players during a disruption in preparation.

Super Rugby Pacific's medical advisory committee met Tuesday to decide that, as the team was only released from isolation at the weekend it would not be able to prepare for the game on Sunday.

Cameron Good, New Zealand Rugby's head for tournaments and competitions said that the postponement was the "only responsible decision."

He stated, "Everyone wants Moana Pasifika on the field. We explored every option to make that happen this Saturday, including pushing the Chiefs match forward two days before Sunday."

"We were unwilling to compromise the safety or well-being of players so this was an easy decision. We will reschedule both the Moana Pasifika matches that were postponed.

Super Rugby Pacific features 12 teams and five franchises from New Zealand and Australia, plus new Moana Pasifika (Fijian Drua) and Fijian Drua.

Fijian Drua will be based in Australia for the 2022 season. It started the new league last Friday by losing 40-10 to the New South Wales Waratahs. They went on to lose in 2021.

Although the debuts of Pacific teams were expected to be a highlight of the first round, their impact was reduced by Moana Pasifika's postponement of Moana Pasifika’s tournament-opening match with the Auckland Blues.

Friday's Fijian Drua's 15th starting lineup featured only one Super Rugby player, while the Waratahs opted for a lineup that included one player who had never played Super Rugby.

"Our first step out was a great success. Mick Byrne, the head coach of Fiji's team, stated that they had learned a lot. "I believe the pace of Super Rugby has helped the Fiji players to understand what Super Rugby is all about, and they are excited to be a part of it."

Aaron Mauger is the head coach of the Moana Pasifika team, which includes Christian Leali'ifano (ex-Australian) and Sekope Kepu (ex-Australian).


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