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Moana Pasifika just falls short

The Moana Pasifika fell in their first Australian hurdle going down 26-22 to the Melbourne Rebels in Super Rugby over the weekend.

Moana Pasifika coach Aaron Mauger said he felt his team failed to take all of their opportunities.

In the 77th minute, Moana Pasifika winger Timoci Tavatavanawai scored a brilliant try and set up the field for what could have been a memorable victory for the newcomers.

However, former Wallaby flyhalf Christian Lealiifano could not kick in the extra two points. Just a minute later, a head high hit on Lealiifano by Rebels centre Ray Nu’u had the Australian team reduced to 14 players.

This could not turned be turned into points as Lincoln McClutchie failed to find touch, robbing his team of a final attempt to score a match-winning try.

“Obviously, it could have gone either way. It went right down to the wire there and the lesson for us was probably around patience,” Mauger said.

The Moana Pasifika team met with the Tongan PM two weeks ago. Picture Moana Pasifika

“I thought we played some really good rugby at time and had the Rebels under a lot of pressure.”

The lead changed four times through the match with Melbourne managing to stay in front from the 53rd minute, when fullback Reece Hodge glided through a gap in the defence.

This was not the start Moana Pasifika wanted.

Rushed schedule

The Moana Pasifika are now hoping to get the Western Force to give up points. The match was called off due to COVID-19 cases in the Force team.

This was the fourth postponement the team had to endure.

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Mauger thinks the postponements will lead to midweek games and put unwarranted pressure on the Super Rugby Pacific.

The team has to play three more matches and these will definitely have an effect on the final standings.

Moana Pasifika is reportedly pushing for Western Force to give up points for the clash as it is their fourth postponed game this season, and the side endured an intensive period catching up on the previous games where they played three games in 10 days.

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