Manu Samoa’s James Lay signed to Moana Pasifika

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Manu Samoa’s James Lay, 2019 Photo by Rich Fury - World Rugby/World Rugby via Getty Images

Press Release: Moana Pasifika

Moana Pasifika are thrilled to secure the services of Manu Samoa international James Lay for 2024 and 2025. The loosehead prop departs from the Blues where he’s been a mainstay of the front row, making his debut in 2020.

With 18 appearances for the Manu Samoa, Lay has gone on to represent his nation at two Rugby World Cups. Born in Moto’otua, Samoa, Lay hails from the villages of Sasina and Safotu, and has a special connection to his homeland. The prop forward will look to proudly represent his Samoan ‘āiga once again under the Moana Pasifika banner.

Lay made his way onto the rugby scene through Auckland’s NPC side in 2016. With stints in Bay of Plenty as well as with the Bristol Bears, Lay has a wealth of experience at playing this code at multiple levels. Also with 11 caps for the Blues, Lay is a great asset for Moana Pasifika, and his experience will also be invaluable for a young core of forwards.

In a 2023 season that saw Lay sidelined due to injury, the prop forward will be looking to return to his playing best with a new opportunity at Moana Pasifika.

When on the field, Lay is one of the best scrummaging props in the competition. The 29-year-old stands 1.78 m tall and weighs in at 118kg and has the ability to play on both sides of the scrum, putting him in elite company among front rowers. Having played under a familiar coach in Fa’alogo Tana Umaga, Lay will have a great grasp on Umaga’s style and vision, and will be exciting to watch in the Moana Pasifika jersey.