Crusaders are expecting nothing but the best from Moana Pasifika

The Crusaders are expecting Moana Pasifika to play a power game against them in their Super Rugby Pacific match on Friday night at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin.

It will be Moana Pasifika's first game in the competition after they had the first two games, against the Blues and the Chiefs, postponed because of Covid-19 within the ranks.

Moana Pasifika continue to be based in Queenstown while some of the other teams have left for home.

Coach of the Crusaders Scott Robertson said he expects Moana Pasifika to play with passion in their debut game.

"I think you stick to your strengths, and we know that Moana Pasifika strengths... will be their power game, they've got players across the field that can rip you open. They're probably looking to expressing themselves, they've got a lot to play for," Robertson said.

Moana head coach Aaron Mauger said he was excited about facing the Crusaders, and the clash will bring out the best in his players.

"What better way to start the competition than playing the best in the competition. Our guys are really aware of that ... they've worked really hard on knowing where we need to be for the game.

"Obviously we've only had one preseason game as a marker, which we've learnt alot from. Just about raising the intensity throughout our training since being back on the grass. Giving the Crusaders the respect deserved but not being afraid to throw our game at them well," Mauger said.

He said this was the game where he could ring the changes to his team.

"It's always good to use the squad and give everyone who have trained extremely hard that opportunity."

The challenge for his team, with Moana Pasifika not playing for nearly a month, was that they were an unknown quantity.

"We've got to respect them, the individual players will be motivated, they might be shy of a game... but they will be extremely motivated," Robertson said.

"They will want play well; it is an opener for them".

He expected the recent losses of rugby greats Va'aiga Tuigamala and Joeli Vidiri to play a big part in inspiring Moana Pasifika.

"They were icons of the game and they left their mark and they paved the way for future Pasifika players and full respect to them.

"They will play with their hearts," he said.