A new south Auckland based group – Moana Pasifika – have launched a bid to become Super Rugby’s much-vaunted new Pacific rugby team, but they may have started on the wrong foot with at least one of the three Pacific unions.
According to Stuff.nz the team is backed by All Black legend Bryan Williams, as well as the former Attorney Generals of both Samoa and Tonga. The group that wants to represent all of the Pacific nations, and are proposing to work closely with Counties-Manukau rugby union, who are based in south Auckland.
The inclusion of a Pasifika team in the Super Rugby has been talked about for years and the new group intend to enter the Moana Pasifika team in next year’s Super Rugby Aotearoa competition. The genesis of the Moana Pasifika side came about during the NZR process of trying to arrange a match between the All Blacks and a Pacific XV.
Now the side look set to team up with Counties-Manukau.
“We have had a lot of dialogue with the Moana Pasifika group,” Counties Chief Executive Aaron Lawton told Stuff. “They are very impressive, and while nothing is over the line yet by any stretch, we have certainly indicated an interest to work with them on something we feel could have a massive long-term impact on rugby in our region.”
However, they might yet be missing a significant piece of the jigsaw – Fiji.
Former Flying Fijians Captain, Simon Raiwalui, the General Manager High-Performance for the Fiji Rugby Union, has thrown cold water on a claim that the Fijian Rugby Union have given any sort of informal support for the bid – as suggested in the article.
“It’s understood there’s informal support for the bid from the Samoan, Tongan and Fijian rugby unions” – you were told by who of this support may I ask?” he tweeted.
The 39-test Flying Fijian would clearly know if the bid had support, informal or otherwise, so his tweet casts a shadow on the new Auckland based bid. Fiji- 11th in the world rankings – are currently the most accomplished of the three largest Pacific Island nations, and their involvement in a Pasifika Super Rugby side is clearly vital.