He's played over 100 Tests for the Wallabies and beaten the Crusaders in a Super Rugby final but Sekope Kepu has never experienced anything like the culture he’s experiencing at Moana Pasifika.
Kepu told 1News on Wednesday the new franchise hasn’t taken long to establish a unique environment he feels Pacific players will thrive in.
“For once, I’m feeling comfortable in a team,” Kepu said.
“In the past, you'd feel a little bit standoff-ish because you were afraid to show or express who you are.”
Centred on culture, a tight-knit foundation has been laid in Moana Pasifika's first full week together.
As word travels around the rest of the Super Rugby teams, Kepu expects more top talent will be drawn to the expansion team with coach Aaron Mauger connecting with the squad with a unique approach to his coaching style.
“I get goosebumps talking about it because, again, it doesn't take long to take confidence away from a Pacific Island guy,” Kepu said.
“That self-belief that's within them, they're warriors deep down. We just need to wake that up.”
Kepu and Moana Pasifika will get a chance to do just that when they take on crosstown rivals the Blues in a historic season opener in five weeks time.