27 January 2020. The Samoa Rugby fraternity today mourns the passing of former Manu Samoa lock Su’a Saini Lemamea, who made 13 appearances for the Manu between 1988 and 1995.
His first international cap was during a Manu Samoa European tour in a match against Ireland, at Lansdowne Road, on 29 October 1988.
Head Coach of the Manu Samoa at the time, Su’a Peter Schuster said he was saddened by the news of Saini’s passing..
“Our Manu Samoa family has lost one of the nicest blokes and team man.. He exemplified a great character on and off the field, as a gentle giant who always put his body on the line for his mates and country,” said Su’a Peter Schuster.
In a press statement the Samoa Rugby Union expressed its deepest sympathies for the family of Saini, especially his children.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with his five children and seven grandchildren through these hard times, having lost their mother Kuini in 2017…”
Samoa Rugby Union CEO Faleomavaega Vincent Fepuleai said, “We are saddened to hear of Saini’s passing..”
“Saini was a quiet achiever, well-liked and known by his team mates in the Manu Samoa
family as ‘the Bushman’,” said Faleomavaega.
Former Manu Samoa Fainuulelei Pauli Filipo Saena sheds light on the origins of Saini’s nick-name, Bush-man, given to him by Australia’s Under 21s Coach Barry “Tizza” Taylor whom Filipo Saena says, had been brought in as a Technical Advisor to the Manu Samoa during the 1988 tour of Wales and Ireland.
He says Saini had long hair, worn as an afro at the time, and when Barry could not pronounce Saini Lemamea, he declared his name to be, Bush-man.
Although he missed out on the 1991 Rugby World Cup roster, Su’a Saini Lemamea was an integral part at the 1995 Rugby World Cup, playing two matches. His last international cap was during a match against Tonga, at Nuku’alofa, on July 8, 1995.
Saini was first spotted by rugby selectors out of the Lefaga Union as a promising Lock Forward. He then went on to play club rugby with Apia.
“He was first selected in the Manu Samoa team which toured Wales and Ireland in 1988, where he played in both test matches..
“He is fondly remembered as the first Manu Samoa player to score a try in Cardiff Arms Park which is known today as the Millennium Stadium.”
Su’a Saini Lemamea passes away at the age of 56, serving as the current Pulenuu for Malololelei, where he had lived with his children and grandchildren.
Rest in peace Su’a Saini Lemamea.