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Leali’ifano is Moana man of the year

Moana Pasifika ended their maiden Super Rugby Pacific journey in style this week with a celebration and awards for outstanding players.

It was a special night for Moana Pasifika legend Christian Leali’ifano, who was awarded the Moana Man of the Year award.

He surpassed the 1000 points mark to join an exclusive club with six other legends, and as always was a pivotal figure for the Moana Pasifika.

Moana Pasifika ended their maiden Super Rugby Pacific journey in style this week with a celebration and awards for outstanding players. It was a special night for Moana Pasifika legend Christian Leali’ifano, who was awarded the Moana Man of the Year award. Picture: Moana Pasifika

The awards night was an event to honour the first year of the Pacific newcomers to Super Rugby. The Moana Pasifika collected two historic wins over the Hurricanes and the Brumbies and pushed several teams in tight games.

Leali’ifano’s award reflected a true Moana man – everything Moana Pasifika was about – and was consistent in modelling the Moana Pasifika values of respect, humility, tautua and integrity.

Other winners on the night included Manu Samoa loose forward Alamanda Motuga who collected three prestigious awards. He was voted by his peers as the Players Player. In addition, Motuga also received the Niu Award for Rookie of the Year and the Savae La’auli Sir Michael Jones Forward of the Year Cup.

Electric winger Timoci Tavatavanawai who finished the competition with 57 defenders beaten in eight games – the most out of any player in Super Rugby Pacific – was given the Tuifa’asisina Sir Bryan Williams Cup for the back of the year.

Tavatavanawai, affectionately known as ‘Jimmy the Jet’, also received the Maui award for the best attacking player of the year.

Maui is a Pasifika demigod, known for his attacking genius, innovation, swiftness, agility, and quick mind. Maui represents Moana Pasifika’s offensive aspirations.

Head Coach Aaron Mauger presents Christian Leali’ifano with ‘Moana Man of the Year’ supreme award. Picture: Moana Pasifika

In contrast, ‘Ikale Tahi flanker Solomone Funaki received the Tangaloa award for the best defensive player.

Tangaloa is the caretaker of the Pacific Ocean and is known for his strength, vastness, power and unwavering will. He represents Moana Pasifika’s aspirations on defence as an uncompromising defender.

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Michael Curry was the recipient of the Galue award for completing his extramural studies through Massey University while playing full-time, and not missing any trainings or team-related activities.

Finally, the Tautua award was presented to Tomasi Alosio to acknowledge and celebrate the outstanding services to the team and the organisation.

Moana Pasifika Awards:

Moana Man of the Year – Christian Leali’ifano
Players Player of the Year – Alamanda Motuga
Savae La’auli Sir Michael Jones Forward of the Year – Alamanda Motuga
Tuifa’asisina Sir Bryan Williams Back of the Year – Timoci Tavatavanawai
Fans Player of the Year – Levi Aumua
Niu Award for Rookie of the Year – Alamanda Motuga
Maui Award for Attacking Player of the Year – Timoci Tavatavanawai
Tangaloa Award for Defensive Player of the Year – Solomone Funaki
Tautua Award – Tomasi Alosio
Galue Award – Michael Curry

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