Rising Hawke's Bay rugby stars Marino Mikaele-Tu'u and Folau Fakatava were both named in the Moana Pasifika squad to play the Māori All Blacks the weekend after their Mitre 10 Cup final.
The pair, who are also teammates at the Highlanders in Super Rugby, are among 26 players of Samoan, Tongan and Fijian heritage selected ahead of the newly formed team's first ever fixture.
Moana Pasifika have been confirmed by New Zealand Rugby as their preferred partners to join Super Rugby from 2022, when the team will theoretically provide high-level game time and professional contracts to players looking to represent their islands of birth or heritage on the international stage.
This squad has more of an invitational feel to it, with players like Josh Ioane and Salesi Rayasi included despite having had their international eligibility captured by New Zealand already.
Marino Mikaele-Tu'u (23), who is from the villages of Samalaeulu and Lefagaoali'i in Samoa, has starred at blindside flanker for the Magpies throughout their highly successful Mitre 10 Cup campaign.
Halfback Folau Fakatava, who is from the village of Ma'ufanga in Tonga, has arguably been Hawke's Bay's player of the season playing in the No 9 jersey vacated by All Black Brad Weber.
Moana Pasifika will be coached by former All Blacks legend Fa'alogo Tana Umaga, who said they are very proud of the squad they have selected.
"We were really spoilt for choice with selections, and as we have always known, players were really drawn to be part of this special team," the head coach said.
"We know these players know how to play rugby, and under the Moana Pasifika banner we know they will represent their heritage with pride."
Former Hawke's Bay Magpies coach Tom Coventry is also in the team's management group as an assistant.
Moana Pasifika will play the Māori All Blacks in Hamilton on Saturday, December 5, kicking off at 7.05pm.
The Māori All Blacks are yet to name their squad for the fixture, but that lineup could certainly feature a Hawke's Bay Magpie or two as well.
Skipper Ash Dixon, whose iwi is Ngati Tahinga, captained their team last year, with Isaia Walker-Leawere (Ngati Porou) and Pouri Rakete-Stones (Ngapuhi) also selected.
Moana Pasifika squad
Forwards: Naitoa Ah Kuoi (Samoa), Michael Alaalatoa (Samoa), Leni Apisai (Samoa, Tuvalu), Gerard Cowley-Tuioti (Samoa), Samipeni Finau (Tonga), Zane Kapeli (Tonga), Jordan Lay (Samoa), Daniel Lienert-Brown (Samoa), Sione Mafileo (Tonga), Nasi Manu (Tonga), Marino Mikaele-Tu'u (Samoa), Alamanda Motuga (Samoa), Pita Gus Sowakula (Fiji), Samisoni Taukei'aho (Tonga)
Backs: Tomasi Alosio (Samoa), Vince Aso (Samoa), Leicester Fainga'anuku (Tonga), Folau Fakatava (Tonga), Josh Ioane (Samoa), Jone Macilai (Fiji), Etene Nanai-Seturo (Samoa), Fetuli Paea (Tonga), Stephen Perofeta (Samoa), Dwayne Polataivao (Samoa), Salesi Rayasi (Fiji, Samoa), Asaeli Tikoroituma (Fiji)