Samu Manoa – the Future of American Rugby

Posted: December 3, 2013 in Europe, USA Eagles
Tags: , , ,

Samu Manoa is a name Americans should know. He is the best American rugby player, and is among the best players of any nationality in one of the world’s top domestic leagues, the English Premiership. He plays mainly at lock (or second row), and is also capable of playing blindside flanker or number 8. He is a mountain of a man at 6’6″ and 271 pounds, and is well known for his ferocious tackling, but is also extremely agile and skillful. American media coverage of players like Manoa is going to be crucial for the growth of the game in the United States. We need increased grassroots investment and TV coverage, but also the development of a true rugby culture. Soccer is the blueprint: a kid growing up today in the Bay Area needs to be able to dream of being the next Samu Manoa, the same way a kid growing up in Nacogdoches, Texas can now dream of being the next Clint Dempsey.

Of Tongan heritage, (his grandfather and namesake captained Tonga in the 1960s), Manoa was born in Concord, CA in 1985. He played amateur club rugby for San Francisco Golden Gate and the quality of his play there earned him an opportunity at one of the top English clubs, Northampton. It has been a meteoric rise for Manoa considering he played his first game of professional rugby in September 2011. Northampton gave him a three-year contract extension just six months later, and he was named in ESPN’s Dream Team for the 2011/12 season. Manoa’s second season for the club was even more successful, earning the respect of teammates and fans alike as he was named Players’ Player of the Year as well as Supporters’ Player of the Year. He has continued his excellent form this season, recently being named Player of the Month for October.

Manoa will be a vitally important player for both Northampton and the USA Eagles for years to come. In the first video below, you will see many of his trademark hits – textbook technique, great timing, and thudding power. But also look out for his skill in the air – both at restarts and lineouts – as well as some deft passes in open play. The second video is a brutal hit he made while playing for the Eagles that has proved to be very popular on the great Rugbydump.com

Comments
  1. Ian Ruginski says:

    Brilliant player. Great article. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2jrYPYnXe-A

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