Moana Pasifika are pleased to announce the re-signing of hard working loose forward Miracle Faiilagi for the 2024 season. The 24-year-old captured the hearts and minds of the rugby fraternity when he showed that a local player selected from Samoa could transition into a Super Rugby franchise.
Faiilagi joined Moana Pasifika in December last year, while still playing for his Laulii Lions club in Samoa. Miracle “Mira” Faiilagi is from Laulii, Uafato Fagaloa and Vailele.
He caught the attention of the Moana Pasifika Head Coach Aaron Mauger and Forwards Coach Leota Filo Tiatia at the annual World Rugby Pacific Combine held in Suva Fiji.
The week long annual combine serves as a pathway for top players selected from Samoa, Tonga and Fiji and aims to provide exposure to a high-performance program through an intensive training week that emulates a professional rugby environment.
Last year Moana Pasifika’s coaching staff attended the combine with the intention of rewarding two players with training contracts for the 2023 preseason. However, Faiilagi impressed with his physical prowess, game intelligence and professionalism – which saw him being rewarded with a full-time contract.
Miracle stormed onto the Super Rugby Pacific scene scoring five tries in his debut season, although he did have to come off the bench for key matches including Moana’s away game against Fiji in Lautoka.
The 6 ft 4 towering flaker is described by Moana Pasifika as “one of the best ball running forwards in the competition and a gifted athlete whose talent is only outdone by his work ethic.”
Faiilagi was awarded the franchise’s 2022 Niu Rookie of the Year award. The award is voted by players and management for the first year team member with the ability to adapt to the demands of Super Rugby through outstanding levels of self-leadership, discipline, and professionalism.
Miracle has come through the Samoa rugby development pathway and had represented Samoa on the HSBC World Seven’s Circuit and the Manuma Samoa A.
His stellar season with Moana Pasifika has earned him a spot in the Manu Samoa Rugby World Cup 2023 Squad.
Miracle Faiilagi’s inspiring story has been embraced by Moana Pasifika fans around the world.
“His journey to New Zealand and ascension in Super Rugby Pacific aligns with the vision and purpose of Moana Pasifika.”
With a full season under his belt and the Rugby World Cup campaign for Samoa, 2024 looks to be another special season for Miracle Faiilagi.
The local rugby development pathway
Miracle Fai’ilagi has gone through Samoa’s rugby development and had become a household name amongst local rugby circles since his school boy rugby days.
Miracle attended and played for Leififi College, secured two Super 9 Under 20s championships with the Taula Eels, and played an integral part in the Lakapi Samoa Championship win for the Manono side.
In 2019 Miracle was awarded the Super 9 Under 20s Player of the Tournament when the Eels retained the Championship trophy after a gruesome final against the Navigators.
Eels’ Under 20s head coach at the time, Pola Vaimasenuu Chris Faaofo credited Fai’ilagi’s consistency as a strong player with a bright future.
“His defense and explosive running made him a key contributor to the side throughout the whole season,” Faaofo had said at the time.
Miracle trained with the Samoa Under 20s but missed out on representing Samoa when he dislocated his shoulder just days from the test match against Tonga where Samoa won 36-0 to win the Oceania Trophy in 2020.
In January 2021 Fai’ilagi was one of 15 debutants selected into Muliagatele Brian Lima’s Manu Samoa 7s squad, and was consistently selected for the HSBC until the youngster made the move across disciplines to concentrate on 15s.
He is a well rounded player both on and off the field,” said Muliagatele Brian Lima. “We are very excited for Miracle and his selection confirms our belief that local players can compete at the international level if they get regular quality competition and the right resources and support. We wish Miracle all the best for the upcoming season.”
Miracle’s selection by Manumā Head Coach Tupuivao Saumaniafaese Hanipale in August 2022 opened the opportunity for him to participate at the World Rugby combine, and the rest is history..