Moana Pasifika takes a stand, request forfeit from Force

(April 8, 2022) Winger Timoci Tavatavanawai. PHOTO: Moana Pasifika

After copping another postponed game in their debut Super Rugby season, the Moana Pasifika are now seriously taking a closer look at other options available to them.

The Moana Pasifika was scheduled to play against the Western Force in last week’s Super Round in Melbourne but had to cancel due to COVID-19.

A number of Western Force players and staff were infected by the widespread of the virus that saw SANZAAR and Super Rugby Medical Advisory board decide to postpone the fixture to another suitable date.

This is the fourth time that Moana Pasifika had suffered this fate which the coaching staff and management have had enough of the claptrap, indicating that it has dramatically affected their season and may have strong ramifications in terms of their top eight aspirations.

Moana Pasifika Chief Executive, Pelenato Sakalia asked, “is it in the best interests of the competition for one team to be so disadvantaged that they are consigned to being a non-player in the competition? Is it really in the best interests of our players to be having discussions about the postponed game, before we’ve even played the next game in our schedule?”

The Moana Pasifika boss pointed out that they need to have a proper sit-down with the Super Rugby committee and SANZAAR to discuss ways that is fair and would benefit all the parties involved.

“There is plenty of time in coming weeks for myself, SANZAAR, New Zealand Rugby and the Force to work through what are our options. Yes, rescheduling is an option people have put on the table.”

On the other hand, the Western Force were practical about the issue and maintained that they did all they could to contain the virus from causing further implications to them and other teams.

“We followed the protocols set out by SANZAAR and the medical advisory group, and we just didn’t have a team. We tried everything we possibly could – we had 10 Shute Shield players at one stage – but then we went down 25 players. The last thing we wanted to do was play a make-up game in New Zealand. If I had my time again I probably would have run direct to the chief executive, but we followed the protocols set up,” said the Western Force CEO Tony Lewis

Due to COVID-19 postponements, the Moana Pasifika had recently played an excruciating total of 8 games against New Zealand teams and was looking to bump up their performance against the Aussies.

Similar to their fellow debutants, both the Moana Pasifika and the Fijian Drua have each recorded a single win from their past 9 outings. However, Moana Pasifika are pushing for a second win if the Force agree to a forfeit from last week’s postponed game.