In Fiji:

November 23, 2022, 11:09 am
Fiji News, Sports

It’s a Miracle: Samoan loose forward picked by Moana Pasifika for new season

Story By: FIJI TV Team

Levi Aumua leads a Moana Pasifika haka.

Levi Aumua leads a Moana Pasifika haka. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Moana Pasifika has named its 39-strong team for the 2023 Super Rugby Pacific season.

Among the squad are 26 players with international rugby experience for Samoa, Tonga and the Cook Islands, as well as two Wallabies.

Headlining the five new signings in the 2023 squad is Samoa-based loose forward, Miracle Fai'ilagi.

The 23-year old was identified by head coach Aaron Mauger and forwards coach Leota Filo Tiatia at the World Rugby Pacific Combine event in Fiji.

Mauger said the combination of established international players and uncapped players make for a strong squad.

"There was a lot of untapped talent at the Combine and Miracle was one of several players that caught our eye.

"The way these young men responded to being in a professional environment for the first time was outstanding and we have rewarded another five players with pre-season training contracts."

Four further players have earned themselves their first Super Rugby contracts after impressing as replacements for Moana Pasifika in 2022.

Otago's Abraham Pole joined Moana Pasifika as a permanent injury replacement in 2022 and played in nine matches, scoring four tries.

Another addition to the squad is Manu Samoa first five-eighth D'Angelo Leuila.

Mauger was impressed with his NPC form for Waikato this year.

"D'Angelo spent some time with us last year and we set him some challenges around earning a full contract and he rose to the challenge with yet another outstanding NPC Season.

"He's an incredibly strong ball carrier, has a strong kicking game and sees space really well," said Mauger.

Moana Pasifika begin their Super Rugby Pacific campaign on Saturday, February 25, against the Fijian Drua.