Chiefs midfielder Tumua Manu has signed a two-year contract with Section Paloise in the Top 14.

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The 27-year-old centre played 16 times for the Chiefs last year, missing only the side’s loss to the Sunwolves in round two. Minutes haven’t been quite as easy for Manu to come by this year, with the powerful back asked to play just two games by new coach Warren Gatland.

Manu was previously called up by the Blues in 2018, scoring three tries in four matches.

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The Samoan-born midfielder forged a strong partnership with TJ Faiane for Auckland over three seasons with the team. In 2018, he helped Auckland to their first provincial title in 11 years, starting in the epic Mitre 10 Cup final against Canterbury which finished 40-33 after extra time.

“The Section will also be able to count on the services of promising Chiefs centre Tumua Manu for the next two seasons,” Section Paloise’s website announced.

“Explosive and opportunistic, Tumua Manu does not miss any opportunity to advance his team’s position! After having played twenty matches in Super Rugby and as many in the Mitre 10 Cup in New Zealand, Samoan Tumua Manu is taking on a new challenge for the Section and in TOP 14!”

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While there’s no set date for the Top 14 to resume, given the current Coronavirus pandemic, Manu won’t be expected to turn out for Pau until the end of the Super Rugby Aotearoa season.

Section Paloise also announced the signings of Rebels and Wallabies lock Matt Philip, Fijian sevens representative Aminiasi Tuimaba and La Rochelle wing Elliot Roudil.

Former All Blacks Ben Smith, Colin Slade and Tom Taylor all represented Pau until the 2019-20 season was called off due to the global pandemic. Taylor was still signed to the club for next season but had his contract terminated after leaving France without authorisation from the club.

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