Legend calls for support in Moana Pasifika's Super rugby bid
Former Manu Samoa Coach and rugby legend, Tuifa’asisina Sir Bryan Williams, has called for support from the Samoa Rugby Union and other Pacific nations to back a bid by the Auckland-based Moana Pasifika to become the first Pacific Super Rugby franchise.
New Zealand Rugby has opened an opportunity for a Pasifika team to join the competition from next year. The Samoa Observer understands that Moana Pasifika is among interested bidders, in a group that includes other franchises like Kanaloa Hawaii and the Asia Pacific Dragons.
According a report on Stuff, Moana Pasifika intends to play their home games at Mt Smart Stadium in Auckland.
Tuifa'asisina is the Patron with other backers including the former Attorney-General of Samoa, Lemalu Hermann Retzlaff, and Tonga's former Attorney General, Aminiasi Kefu.
Speaking Pacific Beat on ABC, Tuifa'asisina said he has waited 25 years for a chance to launch a Pacific islands team in Super Rugby.
And now that an opening has appeared, he is urging Samoa, Fiji and Tonga to back their offer.
"Most of the top Pacific Island Players go to Europe or Japan...just to be able to give them another option would be a great thing, particularly now that this COVID-19 thing is with us," Tuifaasisina said.
"Hopefully all of the Pacific Islands will realize that this is an opportunity and we all need to come together and paddle in the same direction to make sure that our aspirations are realized."
Tuifa'asisina added that should their bid be successful, the team would also play games back in the Pacific Islands.
The bid is due to be sent to New Zealand Rugby by the end of the week.
Tuifa'asisina was optimistic that the bid would draw support from the islands and the diaspora.
Fiji Rugby Union's High-Performance General Manager, Simon Raiwalui, has raised some doubt, with the former Flying Fijian captain taking to twitter to say, "you were told by who of this support may I ask?"
However, Tuifa'asisiana told Pacific Beat that he believes that the past of Pacific Islands rugby and its long-standing absence from the higher reaches of the professional game make this new opportunity one that must be grasped with both hands.
An attempt is being made to get a comment from the Samoa Rugby Union.