Manoa’s flexibility a massive plus for Saints boss Mallinder

KEY MAN - Samu Manoa (Picture: Sharon Lucey)
KEY MAN - Samu Manoa (Picture: Sharon Lucey)

Jim Mallinder does not feel Samu Manoa has a best position at Saints, stressing the American forward is ‘fantastic’ wherever he plays.

Manoa has started the current campaign at No.8, having finished the previous season playing lock.

But one thing that has not changed is his performance levels, with the California-born crusher continuing to show why he is one of Saints’ most important players.

And Mallinder couldn’t be happier with the player he took a punt on when signing him in the summer of 2011.

“You never quite know (what how good he can be) when he’s running through American teams, but he’s been a revelation for us,” said the Saints boss.

“I don’t think we are (settled on his position), but he’s equally comfortable in either position.

“He can pick up from the scrum or he can come up from the scrum and go round the corner. Defensively, he’s capable of putting in big hits all over the field.

“It’s quite nice that we don’t have to have a second row on the bench.

“We can, as we did last Saturday, go with two back rows in (Phil) Dowson and Calum Clark and have the ability to push him up.”

Manoa scored a hat-trick against Sale, making the most of some sizeable drives by the Saints pack to add to an opportunistic first-half score.

And Mallinder said: “They’re probably not the longest tries he’s ever scored, all three of them.

“Credit to the other seven in front of him for that, but he’s been fantastic every week.”