Today, the man known for his hard hits delivered his biggest blow of late.
Samu Manoa has retired from international rugby.
Manoa capped 22 times for the Eagles, with his most memorable victory over Scotland last summer. He once captained the United States in the 2015 World Cup against South Africa, but will not make the trip to Tokyo this summer.
He played for the Barbarians against the British & Irish Lions as well as leading the Northampton Saints to a Premiership championship in 2014.
USA head coach Gary Gold announced Manoa to the 2019 Rugby World Cup training squad just last week but indicated that the lock/No. 8 was carrying a leg injury.
Manoa’s 122 appearances with the Northampton Saints in the Premiership solidified his stardom in American rugby and abroad. Add to that résumé another 62 appearances with Toulon and Cardiff and you have the greatest American No.8 since Dan Lyle.
The 34-year old decided this will be the end of his international days, he has indicated he will still play professionally with the Seattle Seawolves.
“This Bay Boy is hanging the boots up," Samu said in a statement released by USA Rugby. "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.”
Gold added his two centers: “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 recognized 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.”