Manu Tuilagi will face off Tumua Manu at outside centre when Samoa takes on England for their last match of the Rugby World Cup today.
It is Manu Tuilagi’s first test match against the Manu, with his opposite number being Tumua Manu! We couldn’t help it. To cheer “Go Manu!” will have multiple meanings in this match for supporters of both sides.
England has named Manu Tuilagi at No.13 to face off with Manu Samoa’s on-form outside centre, Tumua Manu.
Youngest of the seven Tuilagi brothers from Fatausi and Fogapoa Savaii, Manu Tuilagi has played over 53 tests for England.
Manu’s debut in 2011 was in a World Cup warm-up match against Wales at Twickenham. As one of the starting XV, he scored a try in the 44th minute underneath the posts after an inside pass from Jonny Wilkinson.
In his international career spanning 12 years, the 32 year old, named after the Manu Samoa team, has never faced his country of birth in a test match.
His opposite number today, Tumua Manu, is playing his first Rugby World Cup for Samoa. The 30 year old says this game is about honouring the blue jersey and giving it their all for the people of Samoa.
“I’m leaving it all out on the field today,” said Tumua Manu. “It’s always about playing for our people and the tapuaiga of the nation, and not forgetting the prayers of our parents and families.”
“I have lots of respect for Manu as a player, but this game is about finishing strong for our people and I’ll be giving it my all..”
“So no uso love til the match is over,” he jokes. “But no, I’m really looking forward to it.”
Tumua Manu is also from a family of seven, to parents Auimatagi Sasagi and Rosa Manu from the villages of Afega in Upolu and Sasina in Savaii.
Tumua Manu played his club rugby with College Rifles and Provincial level for Auckland before stints in Super Rugby for the Blues and the Chiefs.
England has an unblemished eight from eight against Samoa, and the Manu will be looking to make history as they bow out of the 2023 Rugby World Cup.
The match is at 4:45am Samoa Time in the early hours of Sunday morning. But not just any Sunday. It is White Sunday – a special day dedicated to all the children of Samoa.
Happy White Sunday Samoa. And in more ways than one – Go Manu!