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Cardiff Blues make strides to back row with signing of Samu Manoa

The Cardiff Blues back row has gained more physicality after the club announced the signing of number 8 powerhouse Samu Manoa.

The Toulon forward leaves the Top 14 outfit after three years, a club his joined after becoming a huge fan favourite among Northampton Saints supporters.

Interchangeable between number 8 and the lock positions, Manoa brings considerable experience to the Challenge Cup winners with 20 international caps for the USA Eagles and in European competition.

“I’m really looking forward to the next chapter and getting stuck in at Cardiff Blues,” Manoa said.

“They had a great season last year, winning the European Challenge Cup and sealing a return to the Champions Cup, so it is a great time to join.

“I have spoken to both John (Mulvihill) and Blaine (Scully) at length, and have heard nothing but good things about the set-up at Cardiff Blues, the city itself and the region.

“My family is the most important thing to me and hearing about how well players and their families are taken care of at the Blues was a big lure. If they are happy, I am happy and can be at my best.

“So I’m really excited about moving them over to Cardiff and then meeting my new teammates, competing for places and contributing to the Blues as they look to build on the success of last season.”

New head coach John Mulvihill was delighted to add Manoa to his line of new recruits, which is formed of prop Dmitri Arhip, winger Jason Harries and the loan signing of lock Rory Thornton from the Ospreys.

“This is another significant signal of intent as we build towards the new season and a return to the European Champions Cup,” Mulvihill commented.

“Samu is a big, physical man, who will compete with Nick Williams for the number eight jersey and bring an abundance of experience to our pack.

“It is important that we take some of the work-load off Nick and Samu will work in tandem with him, ensuing that we have a real physical presence for the full 80-minutes.

“We’re now looking forward to getting him over here and seeing him in a Cardiff Blues jersey at the Arms Park.”

33-year-old Manoa was named the Premiership Player of the Year for the 2013-14 season, when he played a key role in Northampton’s maiden English league title.

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