Cardiff Blues coach John Mulvihill is planning to use Samu Manoa and Nick Williams as a 40-stones twin-turbo power boost next season.
Having signed 20-stone USA No.8 Manoa from Toulon for the new season, the new Blues coach intends to rotate his physical threat with that of fellow bruising No.8 Nick Williams.
They may have a combined age of 67 – Manoa is 33 and Williams turns 35 in December – but Mulvihill believes the threat they can carry between them for 80 minutes will prove a fearful proposition for opponents in the Guinness Pro14 and European Champions Cup next season.
“Samu is a big, physical man, who will compete with Nick Williams for the number eight jersey and bring an abundance of experience to our pack,” said Mulvihill.
“It is important that we take some of the work-load off Nick and Samu will work in tandem with him, ensuing that we have a real physical presence for the full 80-minutes.
“We’re now looking forward to getting him over here and seeing him in a Cardiff Blues jersey at the Arms Park.”
Manoa was a formidable back row forward during his time with Northampton Saints, but his time at Toulon has been less successful. He has struggled to hold down a regular starting place and made 55 appearances over three seasons with 37 starts.
But Mulvihill is hopeful that combining Manoa with Williams will bolster the Blues’ ball-carrying threat and set a platform for his revamped side.
“This is another significant signal of intent as we build towards the new season and a return to the European Champions Cup,” he added.
Manoa was born and raised in California, but his parents hail from Tonga and both his grandfather and father played Test rugby for the islanders.
He played American football before switching to rugby and making his name at San Francisco Gold Gate rugby club.
Manoa, who plays international rugby alongside the Blues’ Blaine Scully, will arrive in Cardiff later this month.
Manoa said: “I’m really looking forward to the next chapter and getting stuck in at Cardiff Blues.
“They had great season last year, winning the European Challenge Cup and sealing a return to the Champions Cup, so it is a great time to join.
“I have spoken to both John and Blaine at length, and have heard nothing but good things about the set-up at Cardiff Blues, the city itself and the region.
“My family is the most important thing to me and hearing about how well players and their families are taken care of at the Blues was a big lure. If they are happy, I am happy and can be at my best.
“So I’m really excited about moving them over to Cardiff and then meeting my new teammates, competing for places and contributing to the Blues as they look to build on the success of last season.”