Mauger makes raft of changes for Chiefs clash
Moana Pasifika Head Coach Aaron Mauger has made a raft of changes to the team that played the Fijian Drua in round one for clash against the Gallagher Chiefs in Melbourne on Saturday.
Ezekiel Lindnemuth returns to the squad after being ruled out on match day with a neck injury which sees double try-scorer Abraham Pole named on the bench. Samieula Moli and Chris Apoua retain their starting positions in the front row and will be bolstered by Samuel Slade and Mahonri Ngakuru in the second row.
Ezekiel Lindnemuth returns to the squad after being ruled out on match day with a neck injury which sees double try-scorer Abraham Pole named on the bench. Samieula Moli and Chris Apoua retain their starting positions in the front row and will be bolstered by Samuel Slade and Mahonri Ngakuru in the second row.A hamstring injury to Alamanda Motuga has resulted in a reshuffle of the loose forward trio.
Vailele-native Miracle Faiilagi will make his first-class rugby debut in the number 6 jersey in what will be a proud moment for the Samoan-based flanker.
The 23-year-old is joined in the back row by Solomone Funaki and Jonah Mau’u at openside flanker and number eight respectively.‘Ikale Tahi halfback Manu Paea gets his first opportunity to start this season with Ereatara Enari moving to the bench. At just 21 years of age, Paea will play inside of former Wallaby first five Christian Lealiifano who plays in his 163rd Super Rugby game.
Danny Toala shifts into the boot and will start at fullback, resulting in a new look midfield combination featuring Levi Aumua and Fine Inisi. Anzelo Tuitavuki is elevated into the match-day 23 and will start on the left wing with Timoci Tavatavanawai cementing his spot on the right wing.
There is plenty of experience on the bench with Manu Samoa internationals Ereatara Enari & Henry Taefu ready to provide impact. Ray Niuia and Lotu Inisi are also returning from injury and will make their first appearance of the 2023 DHL Super Rugby Pacific Season.
Moana Pasifika v Gallagher Chiefs (* indicates debut)
SUPER ROUND: Saturday 4 March AAMI Park, Melbourne. Kick off 5:05pm (7:05pm NZT)
1. Ezekiel Lindenmuth
2. Samiuela Moli
3. Chris Apoua
4. Samuel Slade
5. Mahonri Ngakuru
6. Miracle Faiilagi *
7. Solomone Funaki
8. Jonah Mau’u
9. Manu Paea
10. Christian Lealiifano – Captain
11. Anzelo Tuitavuki
12. Levi Aumua
13. Fine Inisi
14. Timoci Tavatavanawai
15. Danny Toala (13)
Reserves: 16. Ray Niuia 17. Abraham Pole 18. Suetena Asomua 19. Michael Curry 20. Lotu Inisi 21. Ereatara Enari 22. William Havili 23. Henry Taefu