Christian Leali'ifano

Former Wallaby gets Moana Pacific's top gong after sizzling season

Leali'ifano surpassed 1,000 Super Rugby points and played a pivotal role for the franchise.

Manu Samoa loose forward Alamanda Motuga collected three prestigious awards - Players' Player, Rookie of the Year, and Forward of the Year.

Timoci Tavatavanawai received the Back of the Year honour, while Levi Aumua was the clear winner of Fans' Player of the Year award.

Moana ended its inaugural season with two wins.


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


'Natural leader' Christian Leali'ifano to captain Moana Pasifika

The former Wallaby and Brumbie's captain takes charge of Moana Pasifika's leadership role following the injury of Sekope Kepu in Friday's 37-17 loss to the Highlanders.

"I'm really excited for Christian, he's a very natural leader," said Moana Pasifika Assistant Coach Filo Tiatia.

"We have total confidence around how he leads, particularly off the field and what he brings on field.

"He's a captain at the highest level, he was a captain of the Brumbies and also had a bit of a leadership role in the Wallabies."

Leali'ifano promises more to come from Moana Pasifika

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.

Moana Pasifika's Christian Leali'ifano excited to face former side

But the star signing for Moana Pasifika's inaugural Super Rugby Pacific campaign didn't think it would be in week one.

"There's no hiding now," he joked over the phone from Canberra, where he is in the process of packing up his life before making the big move to Auckland with his family.

"It will be cool - I'm really excited that it's going to be round one and first game for Moana and who better than my old team.

"It's a club that's been a big part of my life and a club that's always going to be really special to me as well."

Christian Leali'ifano confirmed as Moana Pasifika's first major signing


The 34 year-old has an impressive career total of 171 points with the Australian national side between 2013 and 2019, including a Rugby World Cup campaign.

Leali'ifano was a key playmaker in Brumbies Super Rugby campaigns between 2008 and 2019 with 150 Super Rugby appearances.

In 2016 he was diagnosed with leukemia. After a successful bone marrow transplant he returned to Super Rugby in 2017 before heading overseas for a short stint in Ireland's Pro14 and European Rugby Champions Cup with Ulster.