Moana Pasifika have confirmed that Head Coach Aaron Mauger will leave the club, at the end of the 2023 Super Rugby Pacific campaign. Maunger has been with Moana Pasifika since the club’s 2022 Super Rugby debut, and has decided to step down from the role to prioritise his family.
The former All Blacks and Leicester Tigers centre underwent the task of taking the reigns for Moana Pasifika’s first Super Rugby Pacific campaign, when the side was introduced to the competition along with Fijian Drua. The two new arrivals were added into the league, to boost the elite club rugby performances in the Pacific Islands.
Their long term goal is to improve the Pacific Island performances on the international stage, and retain Pacific Island players from playing overseas and for different nations. Moana Pasifika struggled in their inugural campaign, yet their tenacity and resiliency were admired with Mauger at the helm.
Moana Pasifika finished bottom of the table in their first year, yet Mauger did see his side record famous ‘first-ever’ victories over the Brumbies and the Hurricanes. The side have had another tough season for the 2023 Super Rugby Pacific campaign, having failed to record a win in 12 out of 14 rounds.
Mauger is not departing the club due to results, but is prioritising his family at this stage of his career in rugby.
“I love this team immensely and it has been an absolute privilege to be a part of this special journey for Moana Pasifika and broader movement for the Pasifika community.” Mauger said, to the official Moana Pasifika club website.
“I have given everything for the cause in testing conditions but it’s now time for me to return home to my family and give my best back to Amy and my four beautiful children.”
“There are some great people within the club, and I hope these gems can be retained to bring continuity to the further development of the club.”
“Your spirit and support have been hugely uplifting for the team in challenging conditions. Keep the faith and ride the waves with the team, they acknowledge and play for you every week!”
Moana Pasifika’s Chair La’auli Savae Sir Michael Jones, on behalf of the Board, expressed his gratitude to Maunger’s time with the club.
“We accept Aaron’s resignation and understand his decision to prioritise his family. We thank him for his dedicated work as Head Coach. Both in establishing the rugby management team from its inception and developing a roster of largely inexperienced players, with half the team having never played in a Super Rugby match prior to joining Moana Pasifika.
“This accomplishment is especially notable considering the disruptions posed by the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent storm weeks last year, and a tough 2023 season. Aaron’s unwavering professionalism throughout his time with Moana Pasifika in steering our waka has been commendable.”
“We are truly grateful for Aaron’s passion, hard work and professionalism during his tenure with Moana Pasifika, We wish him all the best in his future endeavours, and we are confident that the strong foundation he has helped build will continue to move us forward,” says Jones.