Moana Pasifika wary of hurting Hurricanes

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Assistant coach Filo Tiatia, as a former Hurricane, knows what the franchise will bring. They were unlucky to lose to the Crusaders and would be hurting from that.


It was only the bounce of the ball in extra time that produced a first-up win for Moana Pasifika last time. And, although it was a short turnaround from Saturday, they would be prepared for Tuesday's contest at home, he said.


Tiatia said he was excited that first five-eighths Christian Leali'ifano would captain the side. Usual skipper Sekope Kepu is awaiting the result of scans on his shoulder and is out of action for the remainder of the week, at least.


"He's [Leali'ifano] a very natural leader at the highest level. He's captained the Brumbies, and also been in a leadership role with the Wallabies," he said.


The management had total confidence in the energy he gives to the team, his off-field contribution and the calmness he demonstrates on the field.


"He's authentic, and if you know his story, he's done things that normal people haven't gone through - dealing with cancer and going through the process of healing, but [he] also [had] the inner strength to still believe and fight to overcome.



"It's a wonderful story, and I'm getting some chills just thinking about some of the things he's shared with me - the beautiful understanding of what he brings to life. But, also acknowledging not wasting time, and opportunities, which is another gift for our young athletes.


"We're under no illusions that we are in a privileged position, and that is important to Moana Pasifika in how we present ourselves," he said.


Leali'ifano, Kepu and Jack Lam had been crucial in the side's leadership, especially during their storm weeks, and were aligned with the management.


Tiatia said discipline remained the area the side needed to continue working on because once they had that sorted, they could exert more control.


"If we can balance out penalties and get an even playing field then we are in the game," he said.


They also needed to do better in the set-piece and lineout maul defence.


"We've had little time to do it physically, so it is around detail and making sure everyone is on the same page, and we're good to go," he said.


There was some immaturity at this level of rugby. How they learned and the acceleration of learning was important for the future.


"It's pretty close to Test match footy when you are playing at your optimum and everyone is at full capacity so, it's an area as individuals and collective that we have to keep helping each other," he said.


Discipline was part of that, both on and off the field.


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