Moana Pasifika recruit two new coaches on eve of Super Rugby Pacific

Super Rugby Pacific expansion franchise Moana Pasifika have added two new coaches to its management staff just over a month out from the kick-off of the new competition.

The side confirmed on Monday that Southland head coach Dale MacLeod and former Blues, Chiefs and Sunwolves prop Pauliasi Manu will join Moana Pasifika for its inaugural season.

Together, the pair join head coach Aaron Mauger and assistant coach Filo Tiatia on the Moana Pasifika coaching team.

MacLeod joins the franchise as a defence coach after having served as Southland assistant coach in 2018 and 2019, and then as head coach between 2020 and 2021.

Under his guidance, the Stags snapped a three-year losing streak in 2019 before improving drastically during his time as head coach.

That was reflected by their three NPC victories in 2020, followed by a semi-final appearance in last year’s Championship division.

MacLeod also has experience as a coach and academy manager for Northland and has previously taken charge of the Blues A and Highlanders Bravehearts development teams.

Whether MacLeod will return to Southland for the province’s 2022 NPC campaign remains to be seen, but he told Stuff last November that he is eager to juggle his Stags role with his new position with Moana Pasifika.

“Dale knows how to work hard and well in a challenging environment,” Moana Pasifika rugby director Kevin Senio said in a statement.