Filo Tiatia joins Moana Pasifika as assistant coach

Former All Blacks number eight Filo Tiatia has been confirmed as an assistant coach for Moana Pasifika in their debut Super Rugby campaign.

He plied his trade in New Zealand, Wales and Japan during a 19 year professional rugby career, including 57 appearance for the Hurricanes in Super Rugby.

Tiatia also has 14 years of professional coaching experience, including stints in charge of Toyota Verblitz and the Sunwolves Super Rugby franchise in Japan, and as an assistant coach with Auckland and the Japanese national team.

The 50 year old will be in charge of the forwards with Moana Pasifika and has already begun working alongside head coach Aaron Mauger.

"We have a lot of amazing talent out there, and this team is an exciting development in professional rugby," he said.

"I'm really motivated to be part of finding and growing future stars of the international game, and I have a strong desire to help our Pasifika players thrive and deliver exciting, and fun rugby to play and watch."

Filo Tiatia played two tests for the All Blacks in 2000, while younger brother Ace represented Manu Samoa on seven occasions the following year.

The New Zealand born Samoan is the son of Tiatia Ieti Tiatia from the villages of Avao and Pu'apu'a and mum Fagaoloa Simanu Tiatia from the vilages of Sapunaoa and Satalo.

"Having a strong cultural tie to roots was an important part of my role as a player, and it has been a key part of my coaching style," he said.

"Covid has really changed our landscape and preparation time, but I see that as a great opportunity to be innovative and think differently about how we prepare to hit the ground running."

Tiatia left his role as an assistant coach with the Auckland NPC team earlier this year and Moana Pasifika head coach Aaron Mauger is happy to have him on board.

"Filo is a proud Samoan who has been around professional rugby teams for over 30 years," he said.

"He knows what a good rugby team looks like, he knows the challenges, knows what success looks like and he knows what we need on the field.

"His knowledge and skills as a coach, and his work ethic are incredible. Like many of the people involved in our programme, his heart is that of a proud Pasifika man who cares deeply about being part of this special team."

RNZ Pacific first reported that Mauger and Tiatia would join Moana Pasifika in July.

Moana Pasifika Director of Rugby Kevin Senio said Tiatia had committed himself early to the team and his contribution to the set-up phase has been immense.

"Filo was an easy choice for us, and we're delighted to have him in our management team. Aaron's coaching and management team has an excellent plan in place for preparing the team once they assemble next month," he said.

"I am blown away at how much work Aaron and Filo and the rest of the team have done to ensure we are able to maximise the time we have with players. We have the added advantage of players who have been able to rest their bodies and minds during lockdown, and their training regimes been able to focus solely on getting themselves ready for our season.

"We expect to announce our full management team in the next few weeks."