Saints wing Pisi ready for Manoa reunion in World Cup clash

Ken Pisi and Samu Manoa will square up in Samoa's clash with USA (picture: Sharon Lucey)
Ken Pisi and Samu Manoa will square up in Samoa's clash with USA (picture: Sharon Lucey)

It’s something Ken Pisi has never had to worry about before.

Something he could sit back and laugh about as opposition sides pondered the best way to handle it.

But this weekend, Pisi, his brother George and Kahn Fotuali’i will face an experience they may have hoped they would never have to.

They will line up in a competitive game against the man Christian Day once said ‘threw players around like ragdolls’ during Franklin’s Gardens training sessions.

Yes, this weekend, Saints’ Samoan contingent will face the behemoth that is USA bulldozer Samu Manoa.

Manoa swapped Northampton for Toulon this summer, setting up the prospect of meetings with his former club in the Champions Cup in the next few years.

But of more pressing concern to Pisi and Co is how they will handle the human wrecking ball at Brighton’s Community Stadium on Sunday.

It will be a World Cup clash packed with power and panache, and Pisi is hoping he and his countrymen can secure the bragging rights against Manoa’s Eagles.

But just how will the Samoans be planning to stop Manoa?

“We’ve already chatted to Samu on the phone and we were joking around, telling him not to run down our channel,” Pisi said.

“It’s going to be tough to come up against him and I suppose I’ll just try to go in low and take his legs.

“It will definitely be good to see him again, but it would be even better to get the result.”

Saints’ Polynesian contingent formed a close friendship with Manoa during his stay at the Gardens.

But best of friends will become the greatest of enemies for 80 minutes on Sunday as Samoa aim to get off to the best possible start in Pool B, which also contains South Africa, Scotland and Japan.

“We’ve come here to try to win the pool - we don’t want to come second,” said the bullish Pisi.

“Every team in our pool will think they can do well and we’re pretty confident in our ability.

“Hopefully it will work out for us.

“We’ve got a lot of good players and it will all be about which team turns up on the day.”

What Samoa also possess is experience of England, with a number of their players strutting their stuff in the Aviva Premiership.

And Pisi said: “The local boys are helping the guys who have come in from back in the islands and it’s good that we’ve got that knowledge.

“It’s a good combination and it’s nice to be playing this tournament in England because you don’t have to 
worry about feeling homesick.”