Samu Manoa

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Samu Manoa
Samu Manoa 2015 RWC.jpg
Manoa with the Eagles in the 2015 World Cup
Date of birth (1985-03-05) 5 March 1985 (age 34)
Place of birthConcord, California, United States
Height1.98 m (6 ft 6 in)
Weight127 kg (20 st 0 lb; 280 lb) [1]
Occupation(s)Rugby union player
Rugby union career
Position(s) Lock
Number 8
Amateur team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
2003–2010 San Francisco Golden Gate RFC ()
Senior career
Years Team Apps (Points)
Northampton Saints
Cardiff Blues
Seattle Seawolves
Correct as of 18 June 2019
National team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
United States
Correct as of 18 June 2018

Samu Manoa (born March 5, 1985) is an American rugby union player who currently plays for the Seattle Seawolves. Manoa was described in 2014 by ESPNscrum as "perhaps the finest No. 8 playing the game in the northern hemisphere."[2] He retired from international rugby in 2019 with 22 caps.[3]

Early career[edit]

Manoa was born in Concord, California. He started playing rugby at 13 years old with his family.[4] His coaches through his early years were his father and his uncle, Va'inga Manoa and Hu'ufifale (himself a rugby star in his youth in Tonga before emigrating to Hawaii). Manoa played for San Francisco Golden Gate RFC from 2003-2011. He helped SFGG win the U.S. Rugby Super League in 2009 and 2011 crossing four times in the process. In his final game for the Golden Gate, Manoa again showed his nose for the tryline, opening the scoring as his side claimed the title once more. San Francisco Golden Gate were national runners up in 2010.

English Premiership[edit]

Manoa playing for Northampton in 2013

In April 2011 Manoa signed for English Premiership side Northampton Saints for the 2011–12 season. Northampton were impressed with his ball skills, pace and physicality.[5] In autumn 2011 Manoa hit the ground running for the Saints with a series of powerful performances in the early rounds of Aviva Premiership Rugby and worked himself into Northampton's starting rotation. A series of outstanding performances earned him man of the match awards in wins over Castres and Harlequins, and the big second row fast became an integral part of the Saints squad. Over the course of the 2011-12 season, Manoa played in 18 Premiership games for the Saints, with 14 starts.[6] Manoa was named by ESPN to the 2011-12 Premiership "Dream Team."[7]

On February 15, 2012 Manoa signed a three-year contract extension with Northampton Saints.[8] He was honoured with the Northampton Saints Supporters' Player of the Year for the 2012-13 Premiership season.[9] During the 2013-14 season Manoa replicated his success and subsequently was short-listed for the RPA Player's Player of the Year award[10] and the Premiership Player of the Year.[11] Furthermore, for the second year in succession Manoa was voted the Saints Supporters' Player of the Season.[12] In 2014 Manoa started as Northampton beat Saracens to win the Premiership.[13] He achieved his first English Premiership hat trick on October 11, 2014 as Northampton dominated Sale Sharks 43-10.[14] Just two months later he achieved another hat trick in a substitute appearance in which Saints drubbed Benetton Treviso 67-0 in the European Rugby Champions Cup.[15] On the back of several strong performances in the Premiership and Champions Cup, Manoa won the Aviva Premiership Player of the Month for December 2014.[16]

Top 14[edit]

On December 21, 2014, Toulon owner, Mourad Boudjellal confirmed that Manoa signed with Toulon on a four-year contract, the first type of contract to be offered by the club.[17] One week after making his debut for Toloun, Manoa scored his first try for the club in their 52-8 win over Montpellier in November 2015.[18]


United States national team[edit]

Manoa played six matches with the U.S. Select XV and the USA A sides from 2009 to 2010, including playing in the Americas Rugby Championship. He was called up to the U.S. national team for the 2010 end of year tests. He earned his US international debut with a start against Georgia in November 2010, and also started matches against Scotland A and Saracens. His 2011 contract with Northampton meant that he did not play for the US in the 2011 Rugby World Cup. Manoa retired from international rugby prior to the 2019 World Cup with intention of continuing his club career playing for the Seattle Seawolves.


On 1 June 2013 Manoa gained his first cap for the Barbarians playing against the Lions in Hong Kong.

Club Statistics[edit]

As of match played 19 October 2016.
Club statistics
Club Season League Europe Anglo-Welsh Cup Other Total
Division Apps Tries Apps Tries Apps Tries Apps Tries Apps Tries
Northampton Saints 2011–12 English Premiership 18 0 6 1 3 0 1 1 28 2
2012–13 24 2 6 0 3 2 33 2
2013–14 21 6 8 1 3 3 32 10
2014–15 21 8 7 4 1 0 29 13
Toulon 2015–16 Top 14 8 1 3 0 0 0 11 1
Toulon 2016–17 Top 14 8 0 0 0 0 0 8 0
Total 100 17 30 6 10 3 1 1 141 27

Personal life[edit]

Manoa is married to Mary-Lorraine Masi'ata Lavaka-Manoa [Nee Tasini], and they have five children.

Samu Manoa's full name is Samuela Va'inga Manoa. He is of Tongan descent, and is the eldest son of Va`inga-`i-Moana Manoa and Patricia Dixon Mataele. Manoa's father was a star athlete at Santa Ana High School. Manoa's paternal grandfather and namesake, Samuela Mafana Ikani Manoa ("Mafana"), was a star rugby player from the village of Nukunuku in Tonga. His paternal grandmother, Kalolaine Tupou Veiongo Manoa [nee Aholelei] reared Manoa and took him as a toddler to Tonga, so his mother could continue with school. Manoa's father later remarried, and his stepmother, Ialaloa Simulata Manoa [nee Tangitau] of Vava`u [Neiafutahi and Ofu], took Manoa in as her own. Manoa has two siblings on his father's side, a brother Wesley, and a sister, Lilio Daphne. Manoa's grandfather captained the South Seas Islanders during the 60s, and his father was also an international.

Manoa has nine siblings on his mother's side: six brothers and three sisters. One is Luke O' Tutulupeatau Kaumatule, a football star at Punahou School (class of 2012), now attending Stanford University on a football scholarship. Another is Canton Kaumatule, also a football star at Punahou School, now attending the University of Oregon on a football scholarship. Two of his cousins have also found success in the public eye: Dinah Jane from the girl group Fifth Harmony and Jabari Parker who plays in the NBA for the Milwaukee Bucks. His uncle Sione Havea Vailahi is a professional wrestler known as The Barbarian, tag team Powers of Pain.


  1. ^ "Aviva Premiership Rugby - Northampton Saints". web page. Premier Rugby. Archived from the original on 2 February 2012. Retrieved 22 September 2011.
  2. ^ "The irreplaceable Samu Manoa",, December 29, 2014.
  3. ^ "Men's Eagle Samu Manoa retires from international rugby Read more at". usa rugby. Retrieved 18 June 2019. External link in |title= (help)
  4. ^ USA Rugby, Men's National Team, Player Profile, "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-07-27. Retrieved 2010-11-15.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ BBC Sport (14 April 2011). "Northampton Saints bring in USA lock forward Samu Manoa". BBC Sport. Retrieved 1 June 2011.
  6. ^ Premiership Rugby Squads, Player Profile,
  7. ^ Samu Manoa in ESPN Dream Team, May 3, 2012,
  8. ^
  9. ^ "Manoa Get Honor".
  10. ^ "MANOA SHORTLISTED FOR RPA PLAYERS' PLAYER OF THE YEAR". northampton saints. Archived from the original on 20 May 2014. Retrieved 20 May 2014.
  11. ^ "Premiership Player of the Year shortlist". the rugby paper. Retrieved 20 May 2014.
  12. ^ "Manoa is Saints fans' top man for second year in succession". Northampton Chronicle. Retrieved 20 May 2014.
  13. ^ "Premiership final: Saracens 20-24 Northampton Saints". 31 May 2014. Retrieved 24 March 2019 – via
  14. ^ "Northampton 43-10 Sale: Samu Manoa bags first Premiership hat-trick for Saints". dailymail. Retrieved 14 October 2014.
  15. ^ espnscrum Retrieved 13 December 2014. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  16. ^ Premiership Rugby Retrieved 22 January 2015. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  17. ^ espnscrum Retrieved 21 December 2014. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  18. ^ "Eagles Abroad: Weekend Review". TIAR. Retrieved 9 November 2015.

External links[edit]