Challenges just beginning as Moana Pasifika confront their Super Rugby reality – Honolulu, Hawaii

Honolulu, Hawaii 2021-07-21 06:43:52 –

As Sir Brian Williams, the legend of the All Blacks and the driving force behind Moana Pacifica, correctly points out, really good things can’t be easy. And now, Super Rugby’s latest franchise has been given a green light, the difficulty just ratchets up.

Just as the licenses of new Super Rugby entrants Moana Pacifica and Fijiandurua became unconditional earlier this week, the clocks of the two Pacific Islands entities are rapidly ticking, a month later than expected. It’s past.

It’s only now that we can form a team for the debut season in Super Rugby 2022 and offer solid contracts to players and coaches. There’s a lot to do, and they’re already a long way behind the eight-ball. They begin the delicate process of hiring.

Time is not their friend either. The pre-season is just a few months away. Their team is needed every precious second they can manage to speed up. Players need to sign a contract and assemble early, not later.

read more:
* Super Rugby: Moana Pacifica grants unconditional license to participate in the 2022 revamped competition
* Super Rugby: Tongan coaches welcome Moana Pacifica, but there is a warning to All Blacks
* Super Rugby: Moana Pacifica reveals that 20% of the team may still be available in All Blacks

And that’s where it gets tricky. Many of the players they would have targeted have already been snapped up or resigned by clubs in New Zealand, Australia, Japan, the United States, the United Kingdom and Europe. But it’s only now that they can shake legitimate contracts under their noses.

The confirmation license became unconditional on Monday, and since then the wheels have been spinning rapidly as both organizations move to the next and most important level. reality.

Especially for Auckland-based Moana Pacifica, it has been a difficult process to accomplish so far and will continue to be a testing process to negotiate the remaining hurdles leading to their inauguration season.

Moana Pacifica does not have the luxury of national unions or governments and stands firmly behind them. They are independent organizations, despite being a solid representative of the people of Samoa and Tonga.

“For many reasons, this was a very difficult process,” said Pelenato Sakalia, CEO of Interim Moana Pasifika. thing.. “This is a complex operating environment, with competition uncertainty, broadcasting rights uncertainty, ongoing discussions between NZ Rugby and Sky, uncertainty about NZR capital discussions, and existing Super Rugby franchises. Anxiety about new things from Participants will mean for them.

Moana Pasifika wants to engage with the Pacific Islands community by being genuine and authentic.

Dave & Sugar / Getty Images

Moana Pasifika wants to engage with the Pacific Islands community by being genuine and authentic.

“With Moana Pacifica on one side, the factors that influence the landscape of Aotearoa’s rugby are unprecedented, and they really complicate it.

“It took a lot of hard work in every detail, but in the end it was a cool head under great pressure because it was so emotional in every way.

“It’s an unstable environment and given the real anxiety in the New Zealand rugby landscape, the quality of the work done had to be extraordinary. Bring us near the table There will be no more to go. “

Williams, the great all-black of the 1970s, was one of those who was worried. To him, Moana Pacifica represents a quarter of a century of frustration and injustice in terms of dropping out of the Super Rugby landscape.

He said thing He felt a wave of relief and joy when the license became unconditional, but he also realized the responsibilities that were now imposed on them.

“To get this far, we had to jump over the hoops and jump the hurdles, and that’s going on. But it’s been created over 26 years, and there’s a lot in the process. There is disappointment and frustration, so what we are facing now is not comparable, “he said.

Sir Brian Williams:

Fiona Goodall / Getty Images

Sir Brian Williams: “It’s been 26 years and there was a lot of disappointment and frustration in the process.”

If you want to achieve that, good things can’t be easy. Getting our first team together is certainly not easy … but you have to roam Auckland schools and rugby clubs to realize the talent that comes from the islands.

“There are piles of talent just waiting for their chances, and you put them in a high-performance environment where they are given the right information and training to compete with the best players in the world, they are better. Become better, some of those children will be the next wave of stars. “

Samoa said it was a “brutal” process to get the financial commitment needed to support the franchise. This was exacerbated by the “standalone” nature of Moana Pasifika and the ongoing challenges of Samoa and Tonga in the Covid world.

But through it, all “our Pacific credibility” was indisputable for Sakarya and his team. If this worked, it had to be complete and genuine. Only then will they have the hope of engaging with their community.

“Time is important,” he added. “We know we’re behind the eight-ball, but we open our eyes and work diligently with the Pacific Rugby Players Association, NZRPA, NZ Rugby … The rugby player contract arrangements It’s complicated and needs to be certain from a contractual point of view. “

Sakarya, the coach’s announcement should come soon (Aaron Mauger proved to have a problem with his signature, but was their first choice), players, sponsors, apparel providers, etc. soon Say you should follow. They play at Mt Smart Stadium, but still nail the training venue and headquarters.

Then arguably their most important step will come: Auckland and its subsequent involvement with the Pacific Islands community.

“Pacific people need real involvement and time in the community,” Sakarya said. “Moana Pacifica, they have to know us and we have to spend time and effort to get to know them. Our mission is genuine, authentic and value embedded in the Pacific Ocean. We need to bring our views and principles to the professional stage. “

There is a lot to do. And that needs to be achieved by yesterday.

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