Uso by name, uso by nature

By Martin Gabor - 06 May 2016, 12:00AM

It was the moment that sealed a brotherly bond and put the international game firmly in the spotlight.

The 2015 Pacific Test between Samoa and Tonga on the Gold Coast provided countless highlights, but none could rival Sam Kasiano and Frank Pritchard's try-saving tackle to deny Jorge Taufua what would have been a match-winning Tongan try. 

Trailing 18-16 with under three minutes left on the clock, 'Mate Ma'a' had once last chance to snatch victory against their biggest rivals, but were denied by the unlikeliest pair of defenders.

Kasiano started the play defending on the other side of the field and was still 10 metres infield by the time the Manly winger caught the ball.

With no air left in the lungs, the Bulldogs big man mustered one last effort to launch himself in the general direction of where he thought Taufua and the ball might end up. 

It wasn't pretty – and it certainly wasn't a tackle you'd find in any coaching manual – but it worked. Helped by Pritchard – who came in late to force the Sea Eagle out of play – Kasiano had saved the day for Samoa and won his side the match.

He would have loved to have celebrated the moment with the rest of his teammates who were embracing the Samoan fans in the crowd, but all Kasiano could do was fall onto his haunches and fight for air. 

Twelve months later and Pritchard – the Samoan skipper – still has goose bumps talking about that play. 

"The big fella was posted inside the far post so he had to travel a long way to make that tackle," Pritchard recalled. 

"They were the dying seconds and things like that you can't write a book about them. He just lifted and found that extra effort to make a try-saving tackle. 

"That won us the game, so for him to go that extra mile, that's going to be forever played. It's probably on YouTube with 2,000,000 hits or something like that."

It's a moment that has remained in the memory banks of all Samoan players – past and present – including former Bulldogs and Rabbitohs prop Roy Asotasi.

"That just shows passion," the former Kiwis and Samoan enforcer told 

"I'm pretty sure if they were playing for the Bulldogs, they probably wouldn't have got there. But because of what they represented at that time and that night, they did.

"It was outstanding to see two big guys late in the game and on the other side of the field get there to put their bodies on the line.

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By Martin Gabor - 06 May 2016, 12:00AM

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