Moana Pasifika Rugby

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.

Moana Pasifika sign 30 players ahead of Super Rugby debut

The Auckland-based franchise was granted an unconditional license back in July, with the 12-team competition format confirmed last month.

Interim chief executive officer of Moana Pasifika, Pelenato Sakalia, said 30 out of 38 contracts were expected to be signed by the end of the week.

"We've got 30 players that we'll be signing on the dotted line this week, so that leaves eight further spots to be filled," he said.

Moana Pasifika women make rugby history

The squad includes players with links to Fiji, Samoa, Tonga and the Cook Islands and co-captain Tysha Ikenasio said it means a lot to represent their Pacific Island heritage.

"We all have a strong passion for where we've come from and who comes before us, so I think obviously going into the weekend we'll take all of that," she said.

"We've only known each other a short time but we've all come from ancestors and people in the past that we all represent our own upbringings and families, so I think everyone holds that strong same passion so I think it will be exciting."

Auckland based 'Moana Pasifika' Super Rugby team bid unveiled - but are Fiji on board?

According to the team is backed by All Black legend Bryan Williams, as well as the former Attorney Generals of both Samoa and Tonga. The group that wants to represent all of the Pacific nations, and are proposing to work closely with Counties-Manukau rugby union, who are based in south Auckland.