Leali'ifano promises more to come from Moana Pasifika

Christian Leali'ifano has enjoyed a lot of highlights during a storied career, but the buzz of being part of something special was evident as he spoke at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin on Friday after Moana Pasifika's Super Rugby debut.

The 34-year-old was proud of being part of a Moana Pasifika's performance against the Crusaders that was far better than many had expected, albeit rueful that friends and family couldn't be on hand to see it.

He was delighted that Moana Pasifika could be a platform to showcase Pasifika culture to the world. And, he was certain that they had a lot more up their sleeve as they quickly shifted focus to the Hurricanes in Wellington next Saturday.

"We needed to set a marker down to see where we're at as a team against one of the best provincial teams in the world," said Leali'ifano, who set up Moana Pasifika's second try to Fine Inisi with a pop pass off the ground.

"We've got a really solid foundation to look at some stuff, and go away and work at it.

"That's the challenge. We've got to improve each week, because this competition isn't easy, but we've got a really enthusiastic group who are keen to improve and work and make their people proud."

The afternoon kickoff (4.35pm NZT) against the Hurricanes should encourage plenty of ball movement from both sides, and Leali'ifano said Moana Pasifika's preparation would have a clear focus.

"It will be a lot of looking at our game and how we can get our game going attacking wise," he said. "I thought defensively we hung in there tough.

"It's trying to manage our energy and being able to attack.

"We can't look too far into the Hurricanes. We know they're going to be a tough task at home.

"They're playing some quality rugby, expansive rugby, but we'll look at our game first and what to improve, so we can get more options to play."


Photo PHOTOSPORT  Caption: Christian Leali'ifano is Moana Pasifika's first player signing