Manu Samoa rugby coach Seilala Mapusua

Samoa coach onboard with Moana Pasifika signings

The new franchise has already signed 30 players ahead of its inaugural campaign, but has yet to reveal any names publicly.

But Mapusua has the inside scoop. He was a teammate of Moana Pasifika coach Aaron Mauger in the New Zealand Secondary Schools team in the late 1990s, while the two were midfield rivals during their days playing Super Rugby and the NPC.

Until last month the pair were living in the same city and had a number of conversations about Moana Pasifika and which Samoan players would be included.