A statement by New Zealand Rugby read: NZR have taken another step forward in progressing its desire to include Pasifika teams in future professional rugby competitions with an announcement at the Pasifika Business Trust Awards.
“The Fiji Rugby Union and Moana Pasifika have now been formally acknowledged as the preferred partners to further explore the viability of Pasifika teams for 2022 and beyond.”
Chris Lendrum, NZR’s general manager of professional rugby and performance, added: “New Zealand Rugby has been consistent in its desire to include a Pasifika team in future professional rugby competitions and we are thrilled to be taking these next steps with Fiji and Moana Pasifika.
“We are now focused on working with these organisations, the relevant national unions and other partners on the optimal models for the establishment of new teams – to ensure they have every chance of success. There is a lot of work to do for both parties but we are excited by the potential to continue explorations together.”
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) November 13, 2020
The Moana Pasifika team that will face the NZ Maori next month will be coached by Tana Umaga, who was the first captain of the All Blacks of Pasifika heritage and an officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to rugby. A current member of the Blues coaching staff, Umaga has also guided the Counties Manukau Steelers and RC Toulon in France.
The Moana Pasifika group have secured players of Pasifika heritage, made up of current and former international players, and a number of players eligible for international Pasifika teams. The squad will be announced later this month.
Bryan Williams, a Moana Pasifika patron, said: “This match is a great opportunity to showcase the exciting Pasifika talent that runs throughout New Zealand rugby’s community and it will be a huge honour for these players to play against a team with the mana, heritage and quality of the Maori All Blacks.
Rugby Australia and New Zealand Rugby have resolved to stage an exciting six-week trans-Tasman tournament next year following their respective domestic Super Rugby competitions. #SuperRugbyTransTasman https://t.co/aojkTpCPkD
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) November 12, 2020
Sign up to our mailing list for a weekly digest from the wide world of rugby.