Samu Manoa’s short stint as a Cardiff Blues player has come to an end as the American International has had his contract terminated by mutual agreement.
The 33-year-old made seven appearances in his five months at the Arms Park, three in the Guinness Pro14 and four in the Heineken Champions Cup, with three starts and a solitary try against Cheetahs.
He arrived after spending three years at Toulon which themselves had followed three years at Northampton where he really made a name for himself in European rugby circles.
Unfortunately Manoa never really settled in South Wales and struggled for match fitness, not quite recreating the devastatingly explosive power that had made him such a force in years gone by.
The reason for this is circumstances having contrived against the American, who had joined up with his new team-mates later in pre-season after winning his 19th, 20th and 21st USA Eagles caps over the summer and been given time off to spend with family back home, reportedly a rarity during his time with Toulon.
Then just two weeks after arriving in Cardiff a family bereavement forced him to return across the Atlantic for a number of weeks, and as a result he didn’t make his debut until mid-October.
A month later the Autumn International window took Manoa off to USA Eagles duty once again, but the first two weeks were spent back home rather than with his international team-mates, with the back rower only playing in the last test of the series against Ireland.
Then, after playing two more games, he was taken off at half-time in the home game against Saracens with a reported knock in what would prove to be his last outing in blue.
He once again returned home, this time for Christmas with personal reasons clearly at the forefront of his mind, and will not return with his contract having been brought to an end by mutual consent.
In a statement on Instagram, Manoa wrote, “My most sincere thanks to John Mulvihill and to all in the great team of Cardiff Blues for all they have done for me and my family, and for their understanding recently.
“Playing for the Blues has been a great experience for me. The fans from the first day have welcomed me and I’m grateful for their support. Good luck on the rest of the season Brothaz.”
I wish Samu Manoa and his family all the best in what has clearly been a difficult time for them, and hope he has success in whatever his next step may be.