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Moana Pasifika chart a course to the playoffs

Moana Pasifika chart a course to the playoffs

All BlacksApril 24, 2024

Moana Pasifika have reached the season stage where a DHL Super Rugby Pacific playoff place is within their grasp, but they face a tough test in Lautoka on Saturday against the Drua.

Making the top eight is a driver for the side, but they must take their chances with remaining games against the Highlanders in Nuku'alofa, the Chiefs (home), the Hurricanes, the Waratahs (home) and the Crusaders.

Assistant coach Tom Coventry said achieving that would come down to being consistent in their play and disciplined with their ball handling.

"We talk about opportunities in rugby, and when you have chances to score, you need to take the points.

"So we're after consistency, that's the big one for us. We starting to deliver that and we're looking at these two games [Drua and Highlanders] as big, crucial matches for this part of of the season. We've put a lot of them into tham and they are probably season-defining for us."

Coventry said the side appreciated the bye week, having been their first break since they returned from Christmas.

"We've been flat out with a lot of travel and some tough games, so it was a well-earned break and timely. It sets us up for the next part of the season."

Moana Pasifika and the Drua are level on the points table. The only difference is the Drua's better points differential, which gives them seventh place.

"Both teams will be gunning for the win. A win can help us make the top eight, but both teams will be after the same thing.

Honouring the heroes and igniting passion, Anzac Weekend Round arrives in round 10.#SuperRugbyPacific pic.twitter.com/RUSTEhB8S1

— Super Rugby Pacific (@SuperRugby) April 21, 2024

"It'll be noisy, it'll be hot, the ball will be slippery. It's a big challenge for us and it will be a good match."

Having lost their unbeaten run this season to the Hurricanes last weekend, the Drua will be looking to bounce back, making the job tougher for Moana Pasifika.

"The Drua played well against the Hurricanes, the form team in the competition, but they didn't disgrace themselves.

"They're a tough team, they're very innovative, they come up with new players regularly and at home they've proven they've been really hard to beat."

With a choice of two venues, Lautoka and Suva, the Drua have made Lautoka a fortress and a graveyard for visiting teams.

While the rivalry between the two neighbours added an extra edge to the contest, Coventry didn't think preparing for the game was any more emotional than against the other sides.

Moana Pasifika had been focused on the details of what they could do to improve.

"As we get closer to the weekend, the emotions will rise once we get onto the Fijian soil and learn a little about the conditions and the public support.

"But at the moment we're just concentrating on trying to make our game better."

Injured players are close to returning, which is well-timed for their campaign in its later stages.

"We've put a heavy load on our starting selection, so having players returning enables us to freshen up the pack a little bit when we return from the islands."

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