The Melbourne Rebels are pleased to announce the Club’s Player Development Manager, Moana Leilua, has been awarded the prestigious 2023 Capgemini Women in Rugby Leadership scholarship.
The scholarship is an excellent reward for her impactful work with the Rebels, RUPA, and Rugby Australia.
The Women’s Leadership program, which awards 12 scholarships across the globe, began in 2022 and aims to create a pipeline of female leaders in Rugby across the game by helping to develop their leadership skills and training them on the challenges and issues they may face in leadership roles.
Leilua said she was honoured to receive the award alongside a list of incredible women in Rugby.
“I'm humbled to be one of the 12 from around the globe to be awarded this scholarship and incredibly grateful to represent Australia and the Oceania region in this capacity,” said Leilua.
“The scholarship will enable me to pursue professional development within the governance space and sharpen my leadership skills through mentorship and further education. I'm excited to embark on this journey alongside the other 11 scholars.
“This life-altering opportunity will add immense value to my current roles and my future aspirations within the Oceania region, especially within the Australian Rugby ecosystem.
“There is a Samoan saying " E lē sili le ta'i nai lō le tapua'i " which essentially means that those who support are just as important if not more than the ones carrying out the actions. To that end, fa'afetai lava (thank you) to my Chief Justin Harrison, James Holbeck, and my RUPA family as well as Baden Stephenson, Nick Stiles, Kevin Foote, and my Melbourne Rebels village.
“They have entrusted me to serve our professional rugby players in Naarm and our Pacific Rugby community across Australia since I moved beyond the reef. My win is our win.”
Melbourne Rebels CEO Baden Stephenson said he was extremely proud of Leilua and her work with the Club.
“The announcement of this award is very timely as Moana heads off with the team to Auckland today to lead our Cultural Round efforts for our game against Moana Pasifika. Moana is a leader in this space globally in our sport and I couldn’t be prouder of her,” said Stephenson.
“She has been such a positive influence in our Club since she arrived in 2020. Her leadership, authenticity, and connection with everyone in the Rugby community is very special.
“Moana brings a real passion for the cultures that we represent, and she has helped create an environment where every culture belongs and can thrive.
“Our purpose is to enhance the lives of our community through Rugby Union, and she does that every day by her impact on players, staff and everyone in the broader Victorian Rugby community.”
Full list of 2023 scholars: • Faamoana (Moana) Leilua (Australia) - RUPA Player Development Manager and Rugby Australia - Working Group – Pasifika Strategy • Dr. ‘Unaloto Sili (Tonga) - Governance and Business Administrator, Tonga Rugby Union • Sanaya Mehta (India) - Vice President of Indian Rugby Football Union • Angella Camille “Acee” San Juan (Philippines) – General Manager, Development, Competitions, Training & Education, Philippine Rugby Football Union • Zakia Kulabako (Uganda) - Executive Member of the Uganda Rugby Union • Marie Stella Gakima (Burundi) - Representative of Women's Rugby in the Fédération Burundaise de Rugby • Giuliana Campanella (Italiy) - Italy Women's Team Manager • Natalie Kurtanidze (Georgia) - Executive Assistant, Georgia Rugby Union • Maria Samson (Canada) - Vice-Chair Rugby Canada Board of Directors • Zhenya Allain (St Lucia) - Physiotherapist for National Male and Female teams and Manager National Female Team • Beatriz Futuro Muhlbauer (Brazil) - Events and development assistant, Confederação Brasileira de Rugby • Nicole Acevedo Tanguerife (Colombia) - Administrative assistant at the Colombian Rugby Federation and President of the Antioquian Rugby League