Samu Manoa has made a shock decision to retire from from international rugby just months before the start of the Rugby World Cup, in a major blow for the USA.
Known for his physicality and big hits, Manoa made his debut for the Eagles in 2010 against Georgia.
Following his national team debut Manoa earned a contract with Northampton Saints, playing at Franklin’s Gardens from 2011-2015. He won the Premiership title in 2014 and also earned a nomination for the RPA’s Player of the Year for the 2013/14 season.
He picked up 22 caps for the USA, captaining the side during the 2015 Rugby World Cup game against South Africa, along with last summer’s test win over Scotland.
“This Bay Boy is hanging the boots up,” Manoa said.
“It’s been a long journey but a journey that I’ll never forget. My plan was to ride this last ride with my brothers in Japan but plans have changed. I want to thank everyone that has supported me since Day One, without you there wouldn’t be a Samu.
“Putting on that Eagles jersey and representing your country is something that a lot of folks don’t get to do. I was blessed enough to wear it and rep not only my country, but my family. Truly grateful for all the coaches, staff and folks behind the scenes that helped me, especially my family, my pops for always getting on my case. My grandmother, rest in peace, for believing if I stuck with rugby, it will take care of us. Rugby wouldn’t happen if they weren’t around to push me through.
“I want to thank my wife Mary-Lorraine for her ongoing support because when things became tough, she ‘kicked’ me through, literally. And a big thank you to all the fans who’ve rocked with me. I’ll never forget you. Eagle #419, signing off.”
Head Coach Gary Gold said: “Samu will be greatly missed as a player and a teammate as he was due to be a part of our Rugby World Cup squad and his leadership made a significant impact on the group. We’re thankful to Samu for his dedication to this team and fully support his decision to start a new chapter. His contributions to the USA over the years will sit alongside some of the most recognised figures for the Men’s National Team.”
General Manager of the Men’s National Team 15s Dave Hodges said: “While we are disappointed to lose Samu’s impact and uncompromising physicality during this Rugby World Cup campaign, we fully support his decision as he balances where he is with the demands of international rugby. As Samu believes it is time to pass the torch to the next generation, we are equally grateful for his commitment to the jersey over the last decade and his contributions to the Men’s National Team both on and off the field.”
He also represented the Barbarians against the British and Irish Lions in 2013.
Manoa will continue to play professionally at home with the reigning two-time MLR Champion Seattle Seawolves. The Seawolves recently won their second straight MLR title last weekend beating San Diego Legion 26-23 with a try in the final minute.
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