Saints star Manoa is named Aviva Premiership player of the month for December

TOP AWARD - Samu Manoa shows off his Aviva Premiership player of the month award for December
TOP AWARD - Samu Manoa shows off his Aviva Premiership player of the month award for December

Samu Manoa has been named Aviva Premiership player of the month for December.

The Saints enforcer enjoyed a typically strong sequence of games, with his display in the win against Harlequins a particular highlight.

The American No.8 scored one and superbly set up another, for George North, as Saints conquered Twickenham once again.

Manoa also impressed in the Champions Cup demolition jobs against Treviso, scoring a hat-trick in a 67-0 home win.

And he helped Saints, who were hit by the early sending off of skipper Dylan Hartley, slay local rivals Leicester Tigers at Franklin’s Gardens.

“Samu is an amazing athlete first, partnered with handling skills that don’t normally go hand in hand with a man of his size,” said BT Sport analyst and Aviva ambassador Austin Healey. “Adding his remarkable agility that makes for almost the perfect rugby recipe.

“He has been one of the biggest ‘finds’ in world rugby over the past few years since arriving at Northampton Saints and has made a huge impact in the Premiership.

“Samu has given Saints constant go forward in both attack and defence thus making him vital in their pursuit for back-to-back Premiership titles.

“He is rightfully way ahead for player of the season at the halfway point but until then he’ll just have to make do with the player of the month for December. If he continues to carry, offload and beat defenders in the same manner as last year, 2015 could well be the year of the Saint again.”