Crusaders sign Tasman backrower Samu

Pete Samu of Tasman is tackled

The Crusaders have signed Tasman Makos’ backrower Pete Samu for the 2016 Super Rugby season after impressing for the Crusaders Knights development team this year.

Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder says that the 23-year-old Melbourne born player flanker first caught Blackadder’s eye in the NPC last season on the Makos’ march
to the premiership final.

Samu played club rugby for Randwick in Sydney and for a short time he was a member of the Waratahs’ wider training group when Michael Foley was in charge.

In 2014 Samu crossed the Tasman and played club rugby in Nelson after Tasman Rugby Union chief executive Tony Lewis recommended him to Makos coach Kieran
Keane. Lewis is himself a former Randwick club member.

Samu is currently one of the try-scorers in this year’s NPC with five touchdowns.

“He’s a success story, really,” Blackadder told Stuff.

“Pete wasn’t in the (Crusaders) wider training group at the start of this year, but he came down and was part of the Crusaders Knights.

“His performances were just outstanding and we brought him into the wider training group as injury cover.”

“He’s certainly got some real X-factor. As you’ve seen in this year’s ITM Cup, he’s phenomenal with the ball in hand. We think he will bring a different
dimension.”

Samu has been playing on the blindside flank for the Makos but Blackadder is confident that he will be able to play the loose forward “right across
the back row”.

“He’s got that versatility, although he’s probably played more of his rugby at six (blindside).”

The 1.85m tall and 101kg Samu will be up against the Crusaders backrow with All Blacks Kieran Read and Matt Todd and Counties Manukau flanker Jordan Taufua
in terms of selection.

Canterbury captain Luke Whitelock has played for the Crusaders since 2012 but has been tipped to move to a rival Super Rugby franchise and is thought to have
had interest from the Highlanders.

Blackadder said Samu was the 31st signing in the Crusaders’ 32-man squad.

“We’ve still got one spot left, for an outside back,” he said.

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