Manu Samoa prop to captain Moana Pasifika

By Shalveen Chand 23 January 2024, 4:30PM

Manu Samoa international James Lay will lead Moana Pasifika in 2024, named as captain for the upcoming DHL Super Rugby Pacific season.

Lay will make his debut for Moana Pasifika this year, joining the team with a wealth of experience playing in both New Zealand and England.

The 30-year-old said it’s an honour to lead Moana Pasifika.

“It’s a privilege I don’t take lightly,” said Lay. "I was able to tell my brother, mum and dad and my girlfriend and they’re all happy for me.”

Lay said he’s grateful to have the backing of Christian Lealiifano, Sekope Kepu and Solomone Funaki who have led the team before.

“I’m lucky that I’ve got a good leadership group around me with plenty of experience. I’ve been impressed with how they’re leading the team. I can take a step back and allow them to deliver key messages as well,” he said.

“I got some nice personal messages from the boys in that group, and they just said they’ve got my back no matter what. They’re here to support me with whatever we need.”

“As a team, we want to put in performances that our people will be proud of. We want our fans and our people to look up to us and get behind us in what we’re trying to achieve,” said Lay.

“For me, I just need to focus on being the best version of myself and hopefully the others will follow.”

Moana Pasifika Head Coach Fa’alogo Tana Umaga said Lay has earned respect from his teammates.

“James is a hard worker and he leads through his actions as much as he leads through his words. The way he plays, he doesn’t cut corners and showcases all the values that this team’s about,” said Umaga.

“For us, he was a stand-out choice and we had a lot of choices in this group,” he said.

“He does not lead because he wants to be seen or known, but he leads because that’s his nature.”

By Shalveen Chand 23 January 2024, 4:30PM
Samoa Observer

Upgrade to Premium

Subscribe to
Samoa Observer Online

Enjoy unlimited access to all our articles on any device + free trial to e-Edition. You can cancel anytime.