Moana Pasifika flyhalf Christian Leali’ifano has made Super Rugby history, crossing the 1,000 points mark in the competition.
He reached the feat in last weekend’s clash against the Waratahs where the newcomers went down 26-20 after leading at half time.
He had been in superb kicking form all night and knew instantly that 1,000 points in Super Rugby were coming up on his scorecard, when the referee blew the whistle for a penalty in the 46th minute.
To make it even more special, the kicking tee was run on to the field by his son.
Only Dan Carter (1708 pts), Morné Steyn (1551), Beauden Barrett (1299), Elton Jantjies (1194), Bernard Foley (1095) and Stirling Mortlock (1,036) have scored more points.
For Leali’ifano this was only his eighth game for the Moana Pasifika and the season is yet to come to a climax.
He is also on the verge of another milestone of 200 conversions scores, currently sitting at 196.
New Zealand-born and Australian-raised first-five-eighth Leali’ifano boasts an impressive career.
A key playmaker in Brumbies Super Rugby campaigns between 2008 and 2019, Leali’ifano amassed a huge 150 Super Rugby appearances with 963 points to his name.
He signed with Moana Pasifika for the 2022 season, and has scored a further 38 points over the past 12 rounds of Super Rugby, wearing the Moana Pasifika jersey.
At international level Leali’ifano’s career includes 26 Test caps for the Wallabies between 2013 and 2019, including a Rugby World Cup campaign.
“I’m really humbled by the acknowledgement of this milestone and appreciative of everyone who has been involved in it,” Leali’ifano shared after the match.
“I’ve been fortunate to play the game as long as I have, to come back from injuries and illnesses. When I reflect on the journey I’ve been on to get here and the people who have been involved in that, it helps me appreciate each day.”
Moana Pasifika Coach Aaron Mauger said the milestone is a true testament to Leali’ifano’s talent and leadership.
“The best thing about Christian is that he is more focused on the team growing and learning how to win footy games than personal milestones and that’s what makes him a great leader, and us very fortunate to have him on our waka,” said Mauger.
“We love the fact that he will be the first Pasifika player to reach this achievement playing for the team of Pasifika for Pasifika.
“There is the saying ‘where my feet are, is where I’m meant to be’ couldn’t be any truer in this case and it was an honour to celebrate with him this special moment in his career.”
Moana Pasifika Trust chair Savae Sir Michael Jones said it was a proud and historic moment.
“Moana Pasifika are extremely proud of Christian, achieving his 1000 points in super rugby is a wonderful milestone and witnessing him achieve that in our Moana Pasifika colours at our stadium and in front of his friends, family and fans, made it extra special,” said Sir Jones.
“Christian continues to set the benchmark as a player and as an outstanding leader, his resiliency and fortitude is legendary, is a testament also to his courage and resiliency in overcoming challenges on and off the field.
“We all have the upmost respect and admiration for Christian and we are blessed he is a Moana Pasifika man.”