Moana Pasifika has secured the services of former Wallabies star Christian Leali’ifano as the first player signed for the Super Rugby Pacific 2022 season.
The first five-eighth has an impressive career total of 171 points amassed with the Australian national side between 2013 and 2019, including a Rugby World Cup campaign.
The 34-year-old has been plying his trade in Japan’s top league with Toyota Shokki Shuttles and NTT Communications last year.
In 2016, the rugby community was rocked by the news he had been diagnosed with leukemia.
Following a successful bone marrow transplant, he returned to Super Rugby in 2017 before heading overseas for a short stint in Ireland’s Pro14 and European Rugby Champions Cup with Ulster.
Leali’ifano says he wanted to pull on the Moana Pasifika jersey and re-join the Super Rugby fray with the new team.
He says being raised a proud Samoan, there is always a massive appeal in playing for a team that celebrates his heritage and culture.
Moana Pasifika Coach, Aaron Mauger says Leali’ifano’s experience and strong Samoan identity made him an obvious choice for the new Super Rugby entity.
Leali’ifano will make the move to New Zealand when he joins the squad for the assembly in December.