Fiji-born winger Timoci Tavatavanawai will start for Moana Pasifika in their opening Super Rugby Pacific clash against the Fijian Drua at Mt Smart Stadium in Auckland on Saturday.
The 25-year-old will take the right wing after his astonishing performance in the competition last year and the pre-season match earlier this month, linking up with William Havili and Neria Foma’i to complete the back three.
Head Coach Aaron Mauger has named most-capped Moana Pasifika player Ezekiel Lindenmuth to start at loosehead prop and is joined by ‘Ikale Tahi internationals Samiuela Moli and Sosefo (Joe) ‘Apikotoa in the front row.
Mahonri Ngakuru will start at lock to combine with Manu Samoa star Samuel Slade in the second row.
Christian Lealiifano will Captain the team for the clash against the Drua while the incumbent captain Sekope Kepu recovers from an achilles injury.
The Moana vs Drua match will kick off at 3.35pm.
Moana Pasifika: Ezekiel Lindenmuth, Samiuela Moli, Sosefo (Joe) ‘Apiktoa, Samuel Slade, Mahonri Ngakuru, Michael Curry, Solomone Funaki, Jonah Mau’u, Ereatara Enari, Christian Lealiifano (Captain), Neria Foma’I, Danny Toala , Levi Aumua, Timoci Tavatavanawai, William Havili.
Reserves: Luteru Tola, Abraham Pole, Chris Apoua, Mike McKee, Alamanda Motuga, Manu Paea, Henry Taefu, Fine Inisi.