Christian Leali’ifano has implored his Moana Pasifika teammates to keep believing in themselves after their big defeat to the Hurricanes in Wellington on Tuesday night.
In a video released by Moana Pasifika’s official Twitter account, Leali’ifano, the team captain during the 53-12 defeat at Sky Stadium, asked his huddled teammates to stick together in the face of adversity.
Moana Pasifika crashed to the heavy loss after trailing 22-5 at halftime. After a positive start, they conceded eight tries. The loss came after they beat the Hurricanes in a golden point thriller at their Mount Smart Stadium home in round six; currently their only victory of the season.
“That one’s got to hurt eh, because we didn’t give ourselves the chance to play the brand and style we want to play,” Leali’ifano says in the video.
"We've got to hold our heads high and continue to be who we are."
The players, some of whom appear visibly emotional, then sing a hymn and pray. Among the messages in the prayer are “our hearts are hurting”.
Leali'ifano, a former Wallabies No.10, has quickly become a crucial part of the Moana Pasifika franchise, who are in their first season of Super Rugby.
Moana Pasifika, who are in the midst of playing six games in a little over three weeks due to Covid disruptions, next face the Chiefs in Hamilton on Saturday.