Seattle Seawolves signed Samu Manoa for the remainder of the 2019 Major League Rugby season. The 34-year-old lock/back row is 6’6″ and 280 lbs.
Samu is from Concord, California, but spent several years in Tonga and then Hawaii in his youth. He played rugby for San Francisco Golden Gate from 2003-2011, winning the Super League titles in 2009 and 2011, with the team runners-up in 2010.
Samu signed a contract with the Northampton Saints in the English Premiership and played with the team from 2011-2015. His first season he was named by ESPN to the Premiership Dream Team. In the 2012-2013 and 13-14 seasons, he was named Northampton Saints Player of the Year by their Supporters. In the latter year, he was on a short list for The Rugby Player’s Association and the Premiership for Player of the Year honors. In 2014 the team won the Premiership Championship over the Saracens.
He then signed a four-year contract with Toulon in the Top 14 league. The length of the contract was a first for the club. During Summer 2018 he signed with the Cardiff Blues in PRO14 making seven appearances before receiving a compassionate release to return to California where his wife and five children were living.
Samu has played for the USA National team Seelectsand A-side from 2009-2010, including in the Americas Rugby Championship. He made his debut for the Eagles on November 27, 2010, against Georgia and his last of his 22 tests was against Ireland on November 24, 2018. Twenty of the appearances were starts. He played in the 2015 Rugby World Cup but missed the 2011 one as he felt he needed to be with the Northampton Saints.
Samu also played with the Barbarians in 2013 where he debuted against the Lions in Hong Kong.
Samu is one of the best players to have worn a USA jersey and he is loyal to the teams he has played for. His leadership and prowess as a player will be invaluable for the Seattle Seawolves in 2019.