The Rugby Club team look at the future of Northampton's Samu Manoa.
The Rugby Club team look at the skills and future of Northampton's all-American hero Samu Manoa.
Last Updated: 19/04/13 12:18pm
Raised in California with Tongan blood running strongly through his veins, Manoa only picked up a rugby ball when he was 16, but he insists it was love at first sight.
"I really did not know about high school rugby until I was 16," Manoa told The Rugby Club. "I did not play it as it was just straight [American] football and basketball.
"But as soon as I stepped on the pitch I enjoyed it - no pads, no helmet. The first day I hit somebody so hard that he did not come back to training! My favourite thing about rugby is hitting people, I love smashing people!"
Words his team-mates use to describe the US international are powerhouse, massive, mean and monster.
They have all seen first-hand the damage he can inflict...and so has Rugby Club pundit Dewi Morris.
"I remember that game at Ravenhill against Ulster where Northampton had to win to give themselves any chance in the Heineken Cup - he was man of the match by a mile" said Morris.
"He is superb at the third set piece - the restart, he has no fear. He only came to the game at 16 and he is not over coached. Dorian West has done a good job with him.
"He just gets on with it, whether it be in the second row or in the back row - the one thing he loves is smashing people in the tackle. He is just a superb player."
The man who played quarterback at college has certainly adapted to life at the highest level, and Dean Ryan believes that it is in the back row where his future lies.
"Northampton have always had this dilemma as to how do they get Courtney Lawes and Manoa in the same side," said Worcester's new dircector of rugby. "Neither of them call the lineout so they need Christian Day in there.
"The move to No.8 is really bringing him a bit more freedom, it is bit easier to play a structured role from 8 than it is from No. 6.
He played 6 a couple of weeks ago and got a little bit lost - the same with Lawes who has jumped in and out of that position. No.8 is your primary ball carrier; he's the man who rolls around the quickest at the phases.
"You put that athletic specimen as the first one round the corner, well he is going to cause some problems."