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All-Time American List: Samu Manoa

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All-Time American List: Samu Manoa

Samu Manoa vs Japan in 2014. David Barpal photo.

Samu Manoa is one of the most influential American rugby players. 

His decision to sign with the Northampton Saints in 2011 was controversial at the time because it prevented him from playing in the Rugby World Cup, but it was a smart move for the SFGG standout. Having Manoa became a huge star for the Saints and in doing so opened the door for more Polynesian-American players to play overseas.

Manoa was a special athlete—a big, bruising lock who could sidestep backs and who could run the length of the field.

When he hit you, you stayed hit. Manoa was a game-changer for the Eagles, captained the USA team once in the 2015 Rugby World Cup, led the Saints to a Premiership title in 2014, and played for the Barbarians against a World XV. He played almost 200 professional games, including helping the Seattle Seawolves win their 2nd MLR tittle, and was capped 22 times by the USA.

His stature in England remains high, as he taught many fans a lesson in the types of players the USA could produce.

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