The Moana Pasifika rugby team is looking to the future with some optimism after pushing the Māori All Blacks over the weekend.

The composite team lost their first ever match 28-21 to the Māori but led at half-time and kept challenging the defence until the end.

After a week of building combinations while celebrating the cultures and connections of the Pacific, Moana Pasifika coach Fa’alogo Tana Umaga said the performance of the combined pre-match cultural challenge, Tau Kaukawa, was an emotional moment.

He said it marked the beginning of what he hoped the Moana Pasifika would become.

“It was an emotional moment watching with [Samoan and All Black great] Michael [Jones] and watching where we started from on Monday to where they are, watching that grow and what they put into it, it was an emotional feeling for me.

“But also understanding too what it means on both sides, what it means to both groups of people all the way down to the iwi, and then for us all the way through to the history of the people who have opened doors for us, it was a great moment right there because it meant that we were here now.”

Fa’alogo hoped it was the start of providing a true pathway for the betterment of the Pacific island nations.

Captain Michael Alaalatoa was an example of someone playing for Samoa while plying his trade in New Zealand and Australia, he said.

SOURCE – RADIO NZ

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