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Magnificent Moana Pasifika punish Hurricanes in thriller

Henry Time-Stowers of Moana Pasifika celebrates after scoring a try with Levi Aumua of Moana Pasifika during the round six Super Rugby Pacific match between the Moana Pasifika and the Hurricanes

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - MARCH 25: Henry Time-Stowers of Moana Pasifika celebrates after scoring a try with Levi Aumua of Moana Pasifika during the round six Super Rugby Pacific match between the Moana Pasifika and the Hurricanes at Mt Smart Stadium on March 25, 2022 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

Moana Pasifika stunned the Hurricanes 24-19 in a dramatic Super Rugby Pacific match at Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland.

Heroic Moana Pasifika fought back from 12-19 down with less than three minutes remaining to register an unbelievable comeback win against the Hurricanes in Golden Point extra time.

The Samoans won despite having two players yellow-carded, during an epic display against all odds, where almost every statistic mounted against the men in blue.

Solomone Funaki crashed over in the 77th-minute to take the game into a 10-minute sudden-death scoring system to decide the winner.

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Danny Toala then scored a marvellous try in extra time to steal a sensational first Super Rugby victory against a shell-shocked Hurricanes in south Auckland.

Toala’s stunning solo effort came from a turnover deep inside Moana Pasifika’s 22 as the opposition searched for a winner.

The former Hurricanes utility back booted downfield. The 22-year-old chased, booted the ball forward before gathering to score a memorable try for his new team.

The try sparked scenes on the field and in the stands as the Pacific Islanders notched a historic first-ever Super Rugby win in just their third match of the tournament.

Both teams scored three tries and two conversions apiece to take this enthralling Super Rugby match into Golden Point.

Jordie Barrett, Josh Moorby, and Alex Fidow scored for Jason Holland’s side; Barrett and Love added a conversion each.

Peter Umaga-Jensen, who was superb for the Canes, set up Barrett and Moorby’s scores.

Henry Time-Stowers, Levi Aumua, and Funaki all dotted down before Toala’s Golden Point winner.

Christian Leali’ifano added two conversions to level and take the game into extra time, which gave Aaron Mauger’s men a chance at history, a shot they did not miss.

The Hurricanes dominated every facet of the game; however, the teams went into the shed level at 7 apiece

Barrett converted his sixth-minute score before Time-Stowers maiden Super Rugby try allowed veteran Leali’ifano to level on 24 minutes.

Umaga-Jensen put Barrett through a hole, the fullback danced through a couple of defenders to score under the posts.

Aidan Morgan finished off a sublime attack by the Canes; however, the try was chalked off for a forward pass by Umaga-Jensen to the flyhalf.

Time-Stowers crashed over from close-range after the Samoans bashed away at the Canes’ line. The number eight’s angled run could not be stopped.

Despite being down to 14 men twice because of captain Sekope Kepu (15th minute) and centre Levi Aumua’s (38th minute) yellow cards, the Samoans managed to keep out the Kiwis.

Ill-discipline cost the islanders 13 first-half penalties to three, two of which were won in the final minute of the half.

The New Zealanders had the bulk of possession (80%) and territory (75%) in the opening stanza but could not turn their pressure into points.

Mauger’s men were fortunate. They could have been down by a considerable amount but for the Hurricanes’ profligacy and penchant for conceding too many turnovers (10 to 3) in the opposition’s 22.

The second half continued in much the same as the first, although each side scored twice more

Both teams squandered chances before a frenetic fourth quarter.

Moorby scored on debut after combining with Umaga-Jensen.

Barrett and Morgan set up Umaga-Jenson, who sold a dummy before putting Moorby through a hole.

The 23-year-old winger stepped inside William Havili before cutting inside Jonathan Taumateine to dot down.

Salesi Rayasi went to the bin just after the hour mark after a series of cynical penalties on the Hurricanes’ line, but the Samoans could not score.

Instead, it took a moment of brilliance for the Pacific Islanders to take advantage of their extra player.

Levi Aumua combined with Taumateine, whose offload in the tackle sent the 27-year-old centre down the righthand touchline to level in the corner.

However, the Hurricanes hit back immediately after a swift attack following the restart.

Fidow put his team back in front after Morgan put Caleb Delany through a big hole. Love, taking over from Barrett, added the extras to make it 19-12 to the Kiwis.

The drama did not end there. No, it was only the beginning.

More pressure from Mauger’s men saw them take a scrum under the opposition’s posts.

Time-Stowers carried off the back of the scrum, and good cleanout allowed Funaki to pick-and-go to score from close-range.

Leali’ifano levelled to take the game into extra time.

Holland’s charges started well after winning the toss. The Hurricanes controlled possession, going through the phases as they entered the islander’s 22.

But after 15 phases, Tau Koloamatangi stole the ball from Morgan at the breakdown after the first-five got isolated.

The ball was sent to Toala, who cleared to halfway, although the ball did not go out.

Instead, Toala chased his punt, beat all the cover-defenders to the bouncing ball before booting forward to collect and score a stunning winner.

Cue delirium.

Final Score after Golden Point: Moana Pasifika 24 (7) Hurricanes 19 (7)


Moana Pasifika
Tries – Time-Stowers, L. Aumua, Funaki, Toala
Pen –
Con – Leali’ifano (2)
Drop –
Cards – Kepu (Yellow, 19′), L. Aumua (Yellow, 38′)

Tries – J. Barrett, Moorby, Fidow
Pen –
Con – J. Barrett, Love
Drop –
Cards – Rayasi (Yellow, 62′)

Match Officials
Referee: Brendon Pickerill
Assistant Ref 1: Paul Williams
Assistant Ref 2: Jono Bredin
TMO: Glenn Newman


Moana Pasifika: 15 William Havili, 14 Tima Fainga’anuku, 13 Levi Aumua, 12 Henry Taefu, 11 Neria Fomua, 10 Christian Leali’ifano, 9 Jonathan Taumateine, 8 Henry Time-Stowers, 7 Solomone Funaki, 6 Sione Tu’ipulotu, 5 Samuel Slade, 4 Veikoso Poloniati, 3 Sekope Kepu (captain), 2 Samiuela Moli, 1 Ezekiel Lindenmuth

Replacements: 16 Ray Niuia, 17 Joe ‘Apikotoa, 18 Tau Koloamatangi 19 Alex McRobbie, 20 Josh Kaifa, 21 Manu Paea, 22 Lincoln McClutchie, 23 Danny Toala

Hurricanes: 15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Josh Moorby, 13 Peter Umaga-Jensen, 12 Teihorangi Walden, 11 Wes Goosen, 10 Aidan Morgan, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Brayden Iose, 7 Blake Gibson, 6 Reed Prinsep (captain), 5 Scott Scrafton, 4 Caleb Delany, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 2 Asafo Aumua, 1 Xavier Numia

Replacements: 16 James O’Reilly, 17 Alex Fidow, 18 Tevita Mafileo, 19 Tom Parsons, 20 Du’Plessis Kirifi, 21 Cameron Roigard, 22 Ruben Love, 23 Salesi Rayasi

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