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Moana Pasifika continue to announce new signings ahead of Super Rugby 2022

The Fijian Drua are also joining the competition next year.

Ex-Ulster out-half Christian Lealiifano has signed for Moana Pasifika.
Ex-Ulster out-half Christian Lealiifano has signed for Moana Pasifika.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

THE NEW MOANA Pasifika franchise are continuing to announce player signings ahead of their first season in Super Rugby in 2022.

The new team is made up of players who identify with Pacific island nations and will be led by experienced head coach Aaron Mauger, the ex-All Black who has previously coached Leicester and the Highlanders.

Moana Pasifika – who are set to be based in New Zealand initially – have confirmed a raft of player additions in recent times, including Wallabies out-half Christian Lealiifano, who had a spell with Ulster in the 2017/18 season.

“As someone who was raised a proud Samoan, there is massive appeal in playing for a team that celebrates my heritage, and my culture,” said Lealiifano of his move.

“I have been blessed with so many amazing opportunities over the course of my rugby career, that I feel I can give back to a special community that has always supported me regardless of what colour jersey I was wearing.”

35-year-old Wallabies centurion Sekope Kepu has also signed on, as have Samoa internationals Jack Lam, Henry Taefu, Neria Fomai, Henry Stowers, Alamanda Motuga, and Ray Niuia.

Other recent signings include Crusaders prop Isi Tu’ungafasi and scrum-half Ere Enari, talented back row Sione Tuipulotu from Auckland, and experienced wing Lolagi Visinia from the Hurricanes.

Meanwhile, the Fijian Drua – Super Rugby’s other new side for 2022 – have also been busy recruiting ahead of their first campaign at this level.

The Drua will be coached by former All Blacks assistant Mick Byrne, who worked as a skills coach for Leinster back in the 2002/03 season.

The Drua are set to be based in Australia for the 2022 campaign but plan to play out of Suva in Fiji thereafter. 

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Their squad list for 2022 already includes former London Irish playmaker Alivereti Veitokani, Newcastle back row Nemani Nagusa, Olympic gold medallists like Kalione Nasoko, Kitione Taliga, Napolioni Bolaca and Meli Derenalagi, as well as several promising young players such as Tasman lock Te Ahiwaru Cirikidaveta.

Both Moana Pasifika and the Fijian Drua expect to make futher player announcements in the coming months.

The Super Rugby Pacific season is set to kick off in February 2022.

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