Pasifika Hall of Fame introduction special for Moana Pasifika

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Moana Pasifika coach Tana Umaga wasn't too concerned – 'They've been here long than us, so they get a few perks.'

However, it was a significant occasion for the Super Rugby newcomers, especially with the Pasifika Hall of Rugby Fame being introduced this week.

"We talk extensively about who we represent, both families and ancestors, where we come from, our people.

"And to have something significant like a Pacifica Hall of Fame here this week is very timely for us. We're here because we're stepping on the shoulders of some giants.

"And, those giants are going to be around this weekend. That's great for us because we want to give back to those people as well."

Umaga knows the importance of the contributions the first seven players have made, having played alongside three of them, Jonah Lomu, Brian Lima and George Smith. Umaga was one of the second generation of Pacific Island players whose parents left Samoa to come to New Zealand for a better life for their families.

Now, those second-generation players are represented in teams all around the world, not just New Zealand and Australia.

Sir Bryan Williams was another being included. He set the trend with his outstanding play in South Africa in 1970 and continued to give to the game 54 years later. He had been involved with Moana Pasifika from its inception.

At the same time, facing the Blues, the side would need to turn up with the right mindset.

"It's a big game and there's a lot on it, but we've still got to keep our minds focused on our roles and doing what's best for the team."

Umaga said with the Crusaders battling and the Australian sides doing better; everyone was coming closer together in the competition.

"It means there're more competitive games, which hopefully means that more people want to come and watch and be part of them.

"The Australian teams have stepped up, and that's a great thing because it builds the level of rugby, and that's good to see after what happened with the Wallabies last year.

"Every team, every coach, every player wants to realise from the Australian point of view that they don't want to be there again. And that's like all of us. We want to improve and I take my hat off to Australia for what it's done. It can only be good for rugby."


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