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Northampton Director of Rugby Jim Mallinder took a bit of a flyer in starting Samu Manoa at No. 8 for the Saints these last two weeks.

Now he’s happy he did. The former SFGG star was Man of the Match Sunday against Castres in a 45-0 victory. The game was a big step forward for Manoa, who has made nine starts for Northampton and subbed on six other times. He scored his first try for the club a week ago, also against Castres.

“You never quite know how someone like Samu is going to fit in,” Mallinder told “When you looked at him playing in San Francisco it was obvious that he’s an athlete, you can see that. You could see the potential in him, but you don’t quite know how far he can go. For him to come in and play at Number 8 and to give a performance like he did against Castres is a massive credit to him.

“Overall Samu has settled in well here at Northampton. Obviously there was a bit of a culture shock for him, coming to England and having to adjust to a professional environment, but he’s integrated himself into the team and this has showed in his performances. But Samu has got a lot still to learn, he knows that, and we think that there is more to come from him in the future.”