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Manoa Key for USA This June

National Teams

Manoa Key for USA This June

With the USA v Scotland clash coming up, much will be needed from the USA's massive lock/flanker, Samu Manoa.

Manoa, who got his start with SFGG's U19 program before moving on to star for their men's team, is just back from leading the Northampton Saints to the Aviva Premiership championship over Chris Wyles and Saracens. He was a finalist for Premiership Player of the Year, and is one of the most feared defenders and runners of the ball in pro rugby.

He usually gets more room to run with the Saints, but in the March World Cup Qualifiers againt Uruguay, he was used as a defender, rucker, and a big body in tight. Still, he also got a chance for a 50-meter try against Lost Teros in the first game.

"Ah, that was just a good line," said Manoa. "Anybody could have run that line. I just got lucky. The way I'm used with the USA is different from the way I'm used with the Eagles, and it's also how the defenses line up. It's all good, though."

It's all good because Manoa is a fearsome defender, but also a player who combined good technique with plenty of confidence. Against Scotland, he is one of the overseas pros - many with a strong high school rugby background - who will have to play big for the USA to toppple Scotland in Houston.

"Playing international rugby versus the pros, the physicality is about the same, but in other ways you can't really compare it," Manoa explained. "They are two different kinds of games, two different mind-sets. I think there's a bit of cheating from some of those Uruguay guys. And that happens, but we've got to be a good enough team to overcome that. As a team we need to come together, and we need to execute."

Manoa will pay this June and then take a break before the pro season starts up again. He will be joined once again by Cam Dolan, who signed with the Saints this past season. For a while, Dolan, who got his start with the Naples Bears in Florida before enrolling at Life University, lived with the Manoa family in Northampton. Manoa said he was a good housemate.

"Yeah he did alright and now he's off living the life," said Manoa. "He's doing well with the club. He's got his head down and grinding it out, and the coaches see that and they like that. They like how hard he's working."