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NZ Herald: Super Rugby All Time Pasifika XV


Academy Player
Oct 16, 2019
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New Zealand
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Pretty cool exercise, some interesting selections though
As the countdown to the kickoff for Super Rugby Pacific 2024 on February 23 gathers momentum, the Herald has examined the New Zealand's teams illustrious pasts to present their definitive all-time XVs. Our team of experts has delved into the archives to curate the finest selection of players from each side. In recognition of Moana Pasifika's short time in the competition, we have crafted an all-time Pasifika team that reflects the passion and resilience embedded in their short but impactful history.

1. Ofa Tuʻungafasi – All Blacks beast is a monster scrummager who has always stood out at Super Rugby level.
2. Keven Mealamu – Much-loved totem of the Blues pack was effective on the short charge and an underrated breakdown snaffler.
3. Sekope Kepu – Already a genuine Moana Pasifika legend, this big Counties-Manukau bloke brings the mana and is a seasoned campaigner in frontrow tussles.
4. Patrick Tuipulotu – Athletic unit will have a massive job to do as our premium lineout target man.
5. Will Skelton – Australia's monster second rower captained the ill-fated Wallabies at the Rugby World Cup. He's pretty much the biggest thing you've ever seen and useful with ball in hand.
6. Michael Jones – The jury's still out on whether the Iceman was better at No 7 or No 6. Regardless, he was always ahead of his time: When he adapted his game post-injury to become a blitzing blindsider, Jones set a template for the No 6 jersey that works perfectly for the All Blacks today.
7. George Smith – The greatest Wallaby of the 2000s was a coolheaded clever breakdown menace.
8. Ardie Savea – His versatility nearly counted against him here in a stacked race for starting spots. In the thick of the action every time the All Blacks have done anything good in the past two years.
9. Ofisa Tonu'u – Linkman of the Blues finest era brings a crisp, fast pass. Unlucky not to get more test footy, Tonu'u will shine for us.
10. Richie Mo'unga – Crusaders ace is among the better No 10s to grace the professional game. An organised and accurate game manager, he'll get the best out of the power runners around him, steer them to the right part of the paddock and keep the scoreboard ticking.
11. Julian Savea – From the ludicrous bag of riches this side packs on the flanks, we've opted for The Bus who has a share of the competition's try-scoring record (60).
12. Sonny Bill Williams – A more consistent contributor at Super Rugby level than Ma'a Nonu, who saved his best for black. SBW's big levers will find space to free up this team's strongest assets: charging loosies and blazing wingers.
13. Tana Umaga (c) – Hurricanes stalwart was a brutal and smart defender, a snappy passer and a dangerous runner. As he matured, Umaga became the beating heart of every side he was in. He's our skipper.
14. Rupeni Caucaunibuca – Possibly the single-most dangerous player to ever lace on boots. One of those characters that can see no good reason to be tackled.
15. Israel Folau – The other bloke with 60 tries to his name, and bagged it while playing in his third top-flight sport. A freak.

Coach: Pat Lam – During his spell in charge of the Blues, there were some notable limits to the squad's talent. He'll find rich material to work with here.

Notable omissions: Fullbacks Doug Howlett and Mils Muliaina are unlucky, and Rieko Ioane shines as a centre at this level. But don't even get started on the spare wingers (Joeli Vidiri(!), Jonah Lomu(!!), Joe Rokocoko, Lote Tuqiri, Waisake Naholo and Sitiveni Sivivatu) and loosies (Jerome Kaino(!), Jerry Collins(!!), Radike Samo, Sione Lauaki and Rodney So'oialo).
...i mean Lomu makes most peoples World XV at 11....for all time...so not sure i can get on board
...i mean Lomu makes most peoples World XV at 11....for all time...so not sure i can get on board
Yea agree. Likewise Nonu at 12.

I think the angle is players who, in their opinion, had the most impact at SR level specifically but even then, Savea over Lomu still feels weird.

I'd have Olo Brown easily over Kepu as well.
This would be controversial I'm sure, just because of his status, but I don't think Michael jones makes the team. He was at the end of his career when super rugby started, so I'm not argh if he wouldn't make a best ever Pacific Islander team, just not for super rugby. Kaino was consistently good at the blues, but at super rugby level jerry Collins was an absolute legend.

Agree nonu doesn't make it at 12 though, wasn't that great at super rugby level. Laumape would have to be considered. Sbw isn't a bad choice though, he was pretty influential in all super rugby teams he was in....

Whether or not they make the team, Naholo, nandolo, vunibaka deserve some special mentions, as does Kefu, taumalolo...

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