Tongan-born Aucklander Pauliasi Manu is back in blue this year after a number of seasons south of the Bombays with the Chiefs. We caught up with the powerful scrummager ahead of our game against the Highlanders in Dunedin.
What’s your favourite meal?
A full pig on a spit, with taros and heaps of other vegetables. Delicious.
Tell us something not many people know about you
I played softball at intermediate school, but I wasn’t very good.
What’s your earliest rugby memory?
I started playing rugby in my last year of school, so I don’t really have any early memories. I started out as a second five-eighth, but I was too big and slow, so they put me in the front row. It’s where I’ve been ever since.
What has been your career highlight to date?
Getting called up to join All Blacks squad at the last Rugby World Cup. Although I didn’t get to play, it was an honour just to join them in England. Funnily enough, I was out fishing when I got the call, a little bit like Stephen Donald at the World Cup before that.
Who was your idol when you were a kid?
My mum, and she still is. My dad was a professional fisherman, so he’d go away for weeks at a time. So my mum would have to look after all nine of us kids. That’s quite a feat.
What’s your favourite place in Auckland?
Point England, out in East Auckland. My dad has a boat, so on my days off we like to go out in it, fishing or just cruising.
Who on the team will always make you laugh?
TJ Faiane is hilarious.
Finish this sentence: “when I’m not playing rugby I am…”
Either out in the boat or fixing up cars, which is a hobby of mine. Sometimes I spend so much time under the hoods of cars that I miss birthdays and other important anniversaries.
Finally, what’s your rugby priority in 2017?
To help lay a good platform for our dangerous backs to cause some trouble.