Manu moving further away from Samoa but heart in the village
A young man born and bred in Samoa at the village of Afega says he is grateful for the opportunity to play professional rugby.
Twenty-seven-year-old, Tumua Manu, has signed a NZ$300,000 (T$510,000) contract with Pau, France, and we'll soon be leaving Waikato Chiefs and Super Rugby to ply his trade in Europe.
Manu might be moving further from Samoa but his heart is where he was born and bred. He wants to encourage other young Samoans to aim high.
"I'm grateful for the opportunity Pau gave me to do what I love," he said.
"It's a really good opportunity for me and my family to experience the other side of the world . And also supporting my family back home in Samoa."
Manu has never forgotten his humble beginnings. Raise in Afega, he attended Sagaga College before moving to Leulumoega College where he completed secondary school.
The son of Sasagi and Rosa Manu also has roots in Sasina, Savai'i.
"I always remember that time when me and my friends come together every Sunday afternoon, about 5 to 6pm," he said thinking back to Samoa.
"Each person brings $2 talā for a Sunday night snack then we head to the store between Afega and Malie. We buy those pagi popo (cream buns) with a soft drink to share it with us and talk a lot of rubbish," he said. smiling.
Manu says that humble beginning provided him a platform to always remind him never to take things for granted.
He said playing in Super Rugby, especially with the Chiefs, has also been a learning experience.
He also knows that France will be different, and with the challenges brought on by the coronavirus, he is unsure what to expect.
Reminiscing on his times as a Chiefs player he tells of one of his best memories and some of the challenges that he had to overcome in order to survive in the rugby world.
"One of my best memories when I intercepted the 22 drop out against the Crusaders in Fiji last year and I scored a try from it," he said.
"Injuries is the most challenging thing to deal with when it comes to rugby .I missed one game last year due to my groin injury . Then missed first few games this year due to my (A.C joint) right shoulder injury."
As for international representation, Manu said he would love to play for the Manu Samoa if he gets the opportunity .
"I've had two years now with the Chiefs," he said.
"But one of my dreams is to play for Samoa one day so it would be amazing if I ended up playing for my country and support my aiga in Samoa."
If he does return to Samoa, he said he would love to try out the pani popo again and play volleyball with the village kids.