Samoans in Europe: Matu'u's London Irish earn draw with Bristol
Samoans have continued to play a significant role in top-tier club rugby across matches in English, Welsh and French competitions over the weekend.
Bristol 27-27 London Irish
Manu Samoa hooker Motu Matu'u came off the bench for the 14-men Irish as they took away a draw from their visit to high-flying Bristol on Monday morning.
His international teammate, Chris Vui, started at lock for the hosts, as did former All Blacks Steven Luatua and John Afoa, who picked up a 72nd minute yellow card.
Matu'u praised the fight displayed by his side, which had to cope with a red card just before halftime.
“We actually did really well to adapt to everything that went on in the game," he said.
Manu Samoa back Alapati Leiua played just his second game of the season, returning from a knee injury to take his place on the bench.
Exeter 38-3 Wasps
Jacob Umaga scored the Wasps' only three points against the defending champions in a game that came with an early penalty on Sunday morning. The 21-year-old signed a new first team contract this week, and continues to start at first five over former All Black Lima Sopoaga. Umaga shifted to fullback when Sopoaga came off the bench in the 76th minute.
Northampton 36-13 Leicester
Manu Samoa outside back Ah See Tuala had a stint off the bench in the Saints' win on Sunday morning, having partially recovered from the knock which forced him off early last weekend. His club are top of the table after the win over the Tigers, which came in spite of Manu Tuilagi's return at centre. Former Manu prop Nephi Leatigaga came off the bench for Leicester, who are missing loose forward Jordan Taufua as he returns through concussion protocols.
Worcester 20-13 Sale
Star recruit Melani Nanai returned to the left wing for the Warriors in their win on Sunday morning following a two-week rest during Worcester's European fixtures. He took the place of Manu Samoa wing Ed Fidow, who dropped out of the 23 while lock Michael Fatialofa came off the bench. Former England wing Denny Solomona was marking Nanai for Sale.
Harlequins 23-19 Gloucester
Manu Samoa hooker Elia Elia started for Harlequins in their Monday morning win, with former All Black Francis Saili coming off the bench.
Treviso 28-31 Cardiff
Manu Samoa centre Rey Lee-Lo set up the match winning try for the Blues in their win away in Italy on Sunday morning.
The two-time World Cup player stepped inside one defender and fended off two more, before scooping an offload to Jason Harries to score with the last play of the game.
Winger Monty Ioane had scored earlier for Treviso.
😱 CARDIFF BLUES WIN IT AT THE DEATH!— Premier Sports 📺 (@PremierSportsTV) November 30, 2019
🏉 Having trailed for the majority of the match, a last gasp try from Jason Harries broke Benetton hearts and will send the visitors home happy pic.twitter.com/OuMv1Iawyq
Connacht 24-12 Kings
Ireland centre Bundee Aki celebrated his new contract with a try in Connacht's 24-12 win on Sunday morning.
The 29-year-old's deal will keep him playing for the club, as well as his adopted nation until mid-2023.
Clermont 30-13 Agen
Manu Samoa fullback Tim Nanai-Williams returned for Clermont for his first game since the Rugby World Cup on Sunday morning. His old Chiefs teammate and fellow Samoan, Fritz Lee, started at number eight for Clermont, with Faifili Levave given a spot on the bench. Jamie-Jerry Taulagi started on the left wing for Agen.
La Rochelle 22-13 Castres
Former All Black Victor Vito and Alex Tulou started opposite each other at number eight on Sunday morning, with Vito's La Rochelle coming out on top.
Pau 9-19 Toulon
Toulon lock Brian Alainu'uese was yellow carded in his side's win over Pau on Sunday morning. Former All Black Julian Savea was on the bench for Toulon, while Giovanni Habel-Kuffner was on the bench for the hosts.
Montpellier 33-8 Lyon
Former Manu Samoa halfback Kahn Fotuali'i was on the bench for Montpellier in their big win over Lyon on Sunday morning; meanwhile a previous All Black Rudi Wulf came off the bench for the visitors.
Brive 26-21 Stade Francais
Manu Samoa prop Paul Alo-Emile started for Stade Francais in their Monday morning loss. Former Manu prop James Johnston was on the bench for the victors, as was loose forward Sootala Fa'aso'o.
Toulouse 45-10 Bayonne
Former Manu Samoa number eight Mat Luamanu's 33rd minute red card did Bayonne no favours in their 45-10 loss to Toulouse. Fellow internationals Alofa Alofa and Villiamu Afatia also started for Bayonne on the wing and at prop, with Pita Ahki getting the number 12 jersey for the reigning French champions.