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The Emirates Western Force’s focus on assembling an increasingly physical forward pack for the 2014 Super Rugby season has continued with the re-signing of powerful prop Salesi Manu.
Manu will add to a Western Australian forward pack already featuring increased size and physicality in 2014, with the recruitment of Bulls lock Wilhelm Steenkamp and Western Province prop Chris Heiberg.
The team has also retained Matt Hodgson, Hugh McMeniman, Ben McCalman, Heath Tessmann, Tetera Faulkner and Sam Wykes, who all re-signed with the Force this season.
Head Coach Michael Foley says he’s pleased to have the young front-rower continuing his development with the Emirates Western Force.
“Salesi is part of a group of players who have worked extremely hard over the last seven weeks during our off-season development phase,” he said.
“He has shown he has the ability to achieve at this level and beyond, and is determined to challenge the props currently ahead of him.”
Manu, 22, graduates to a full contract after two seasons as a member of the Force’s Extended Playing Squad.
The former Australian Schoolboys and Under 20’s representative made his Super Rugby debut for the Force last year against the Stormers in Perth.
He played eight matches in his debut season, including holding down the starting tighthead role against Test representatives Ben Alexander (Brumbies), Tony Woodcock (Blues) and Ben Franks (Crusaders) in the final three matches of the season.
“I’ve loved being a part of the Force for the past two years,” Manu said. “I’ve seen a massive improvement in my rugby knowledge and physical development and I’m looking forward to that continuing.
“I’ve been really lucky with the quality of coaches I’ve had working with me over the past two years. They’ve taught me a lot about set piece as well as my general play.
“I’ve been very grateful for the opportunities I’ve been given to play Super Rugby over the past two years. At the moment, having recently had my ankle done, I just want to concentrate on the pre-season, attack that and everything else will take care of itself.”
Name: Salesi Manu
Born: 26/09/1990, Sydney
Super Rugby caps: 9
Super Rugby points: 0
Super Rugby debut: 2012 v Stormers, Perth
Representative Rugby: 2012-2013 Emirates Western Force, 2012 North Harbour (ITM Cup), 2011 Australian Under 20, 2008 Australian Schoolboys