Tonga coach Toutai Kefu insists Moana Pasifika must not become a feeder team for the All Blacks, expressing concerns NZ Rugby could end up poaching players from the proposed Super Rugby side.
Along with Fijian Drua, Moana Pasifika have been granted a conditional license to join a planned Super Rugby competition with New Zealand and Australian teams in 2022.
While the Drua will be based in Fiji, Moana Pasifika will be mainly based in South Auckland, due to cost concerns, although comprised mainly of Tongan and Samoan players.
Several Tonga-born players have ended up representing New Zealand in tests in recent years, after playing Super Rugby in the country, and Kefu says organisers must ensure talent developed at Moana Pasifika would not follow the same path.
"We've had a lot of young Tongan players over the years, who've gone on to play for New Zealand especially," former Wallaby Kefu has told Stuff. "There's [Malakai] Fekitoa, [Shannon] Frizell, Vaea Fifita...
"That's a scenario where we would have to protect ourselves. We would have to throw those rules under the microscope and really investigate those details."
Moana Pasifika general manager Kevin Senio says 80 percent of the team's 38-man roster would either be already playing for a Pacific Island nations or on that pathway.
Senio also says Moana Pasifika would play some home games in the Samoan capital of Apia, but would be primarily based in Auckland, the home of Super Rugby's Blues.
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