The Seattle Seawolves signed Samuel Matenga through the 2024 Major League Rugby season. The 23-year-old tighthead prop is 6’1′ and 255 lbs.
Sam was born in Gisborne, New Zealand, before moving with his family to Sydney, Australia in 2006, and then removing to Gisborne in 2016. He attended Gisborne Boys High School and played rugby. In 2017 he played for the Hurricanes U18s, Linwood Rugby Club, Christchurch Football Club, the New Zealand Schools Barbarians, and joined the Crusaders Academy in Christchurch, where he played for the Crusaders U19s in a National Tournament, as well as for the Crusader Knights.
In 2018 he was called up to the New Zealand U20s, but his arrival in France coincided with a semi-final loss, which eliminated the team.
In 2019 was part of the Canterbury Wider Training Group and played for Sydenham. He also joined the Tasman Mako on a development contract before making his Mitre 10 Cup as an injury replacement. He would make two more appearances in 2019. That increased to 10 appearances in 2020, including 4 starts, and 9 starts in 2021. The Mako went on to win the Mitre 10 Cup in both 2019 and 2020, before losing in the 2021 final in the renamed Bunnings NPC.
In 2020 he also played with Kahurangi Rugby Club. He toured to the U.S. with the Mako and faced the Houston SaberCats, scoring the team’s first try in the win and then against the Seattle Seawolves.
Seattle Seawolves Comments
“Sam is an exciting addition to our squad. A young tighthead, he’s physical with good core skills and most importantly has worked hard to establish himself as a dominant scrummager in New Zealand’s club and provincial competitions,” said Seawolves director of rugby and head coach Allen Clarke. “Equally impressive are his core values and his motivation to become the absolute best he can be. On behalf of the Seawolves family, we’re delighted to welcome Sam, his partner, Natane, and his son, Cilais, to our brotherhood.”
“I’m excited to see what it’s like playing rugby in America and test my skills in this competition,” said Matenga. “I chose the Seawolves because they have a strong culture and a great desire to be the best organization – and I want to be part of this legacy.”
DJCoil Rugby articles by Doug Coil are also available on Facebook. Other Social Media sites to follow or subscribe to include Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube for interviews.