Inaugural Moana Pasifika captain Sekope Kepu looking forward to being 'taxi driver'

Sekope Kepu will lead Moana Pasifika in Super Rugby Pacific.
Photo: Photosport

The inaugural Moana Pasifika captain and 110-test Wallaby international Sekope Kepu will retire from professional rugby at the end of the Super Rugby Pacific season.

The 38-year-old played 141 matches for the Waratahs from 2008-2019 and had stints with Bordeaux in France and London Irish before moving to Auckland where he has spent the last three seasons with Moana Pasifika.

“In the last couple of weeks it’s sort of dawned on me that this is the right time. Everybody that retires says you know when it’s time. All I dreamt of was to play rugby professionally and I’ve been very blessed to do that. While I will miss it, I’m looking forward to being there for my kids,” Kepu said.

“My wife (Anna) and kids (Faith-Rose, Israel, Isaiah and Steven-Judah) have had to sacrifice a lot for me to be able to play for this long. I’m forever grateful for their love and support over the years. I’ve been very fortunate that my kids have been able to watch dad play. Now it’s time for dad to be their taxi driver to their sports games on the weekends.”

Kepu’s rugby journey began at the Tamaki Rugby Club in Auckland’s Glen Innes.

“I would walk in my Slazenger boots from home all the way to training on the footpath, picking up feijoas and other fruits from the neighbouring homes on the way to training. Getting there early and you’re just mucking around with your teammates, doing a bit of eeling with plastic bags in the creeks,” Kepu said.

“Then having a big race at the end of the training session, it was just so much fun as a kid.”

Moana Pasifika veteran Sekope Kepu meets fans in Nuku’alofa on Thursday.
Photo: Moana Pasifika

Kepu is passionate about coaching and said it was something he would like to explore next.

“I’ll miss the camaraderie and the brotherhood … going to work with 40 of your best mates.”

“I’ll miss the travel, the nerves and excitement on the bus ride into the stadium and seeing the fans out there.”

Moana Pasifika chief executive Pelenato Sakalia said Moana Pasifika “was blessed” to have Kepu as its inaugural captain in 2022.

“His extensive experience and leadership meant we had a captain during the Covid-affected season that was able to lead the team and look after the boys during these trying times.”

“Moana Pasifika will be forever grateful for what Sekope has brought … his deeds on the field are well documented, but it was what he has done off the field for us these past three years that will leave an enduring legacy.”

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