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Wallaby's return to Super Rugby stage

SPOTLIGHT: Veteran Wallabies prop Sekope Kepu has been named captain of New Zealand’s Moana Pasifika for their debut Super Rugby season.

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Kepu, a three-time Australian World Cup campaigner with 110 Test appearances for the Wallabies, said he jumped at the opportunity to lead the fledgling team, which comprises mainly Tongan and Samoan players.

“Here is an indescribable bond of brotherhood in this special team even though we have been together for only a short couple of months at most,” the 35-year-old said on the team’s website.

“Coming back to New Zealand I never thought I would play rugby again. God works in mysterious ways, to be here and then called into the Moana Pasifika team, it was something I didn’t think twice about.”

Moana coach Aaron Mauger said Kepu had virtually chosen himself as captain.

“Right from the outset, he has led by example – both in the way he trains, prepares, and in the way he contributes to the culture of our team.

“In doing this, he has effectively picked himself as leader.”

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Kepu was born in Sydney to Tongan parents. Though the family moved to New Zealand when he was young, he later opted to represent Australia internationally.

He also played Super Rugby for more than decade for the Sydney-based Waratahs.

The Auckland-based Pasifika will play their opening match against the ACT Brumbies on February 18.

They join Fijian Drua in the new 12-team Super Rugby Pacific competition featuring Australia and New Zealand’s professional sides.

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