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"Western Force is a force to be reckoned with" says Faʻalogo

This weekend in Perth is shaping up to be a milestone event for Moana Pasifika, with significant career highlights and a determined push for victory. Ahead of their 4th round matchup against the Western Force, Faʻalogo Tana Umaga, Head Coach of Moana Pasifika, shared his thoughts during an early interview at North Habour Stadium. "We're seeing two teams at the bottom of the leaderboard, each desperate for a win," Umaga observed. He humorously noted the Western Force's home advantage, "They're indeed a force to be reckoned with," he said, also mentioning the challenge of Perth's intense heat.

Umaga's 50th match as head coach will coincide with this game, an achievement he humbly brushes aside to focus on the team's performance. "It's about the team and our progress. Though it's a milestone we'll acknowledge, I'm looking forward to celebrating after a strong performance this weekend," he stated.

Kyren Taumoefolau, a rising star from Marlborough, is poised to make his first Super Rugby Pacific start on the left wing, marking another significant milestone. Having already made a name for himself on the international stage with 'Ikale Tahi at the Rugby World Cup and on the World Sevens Circuit for Tonga, Taumoefolau is excited for the opportunity. "I was thrilled about the selection and couldn't wait to share the news with my family and friends. It's a privilege to showcase my skills and represent my team and family in Perth," he expressed.

Despite Moana Pasifika's tendency to start strong and then falter towards the end, Umaga has been proactive in addressing the team's need to maintain momentum and secure wins in the game's final moments. While acknowledging that some aspects are beyond control, Umaga reassures that the team is committed to achieving the best results possible.

For this pivotal match, Umaga has named a mostly unchanged lineup, with Taumoefolau making his debut start, and Christian Lealiifano, Sekope Kepu, and Nigel Ah Wong being pivotal in the starting lineup. The complete team list is as follows:

  • Starters: Abraham Pole, Sama Malolo, Sekope Kepu, Tom Savage, Allan Craig, Jacob Norris, Sione Havili Talitui (c), Lotu Inisi, Ereatara Enari, Christian Lealiifano, Kyren Taumoefolau, Julian Savea, Henry Taefu, Nigel Ah Wong, Danny Toala.

  • Reserves: Samiuela Moli, Sateki Latu, Sione Mafileo, Ola Tauelangi, Irie Papuni, Melani Matavao, William Havili, Pepesana Patafilo.

With a mix of experience and fresh talent, Moana Pasifika is geared up for a challenging but hopeful match against the Force in Perth, ready to make a statement and possibly return with a win.


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