Samu walks down memory lane in England

International
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman in Japan

A teenage Pete Samu was sitting in the dressing rooms in the south of England watching the snow come down.

Kick-off wasn't too far away for his side, St Ives, but he was sure the match was about to be postponed, so he didn't worry about pulling his kit on.

It wasn't until a teammate came over to him and told him warm-up was about to begin that the brutal truth dawned on him.

“There was a game we were meant to be playing and it started snowing and I thought the game was going to get cancelled. I didn’t get changed," he recalled in London this week.

“Then the boys came up to me and asked me what I was doing and I said, “Oh, it’s snowing”.

“They were like, “Well, we will be out warming up in five minutes and I was like ‘oh f***’ and got changed.

Samu spent two years playing with English club side St Ives,Cornwall, straight out of school after moving to England at the recommendation of his junior rugby coach in Melbourne.

“In my junior footy in Melbourne, my coach was from England and he hooked me up with a team over here,” he said.

“He asked me if I was keen to head over. I was straight out of school and wasn’t doing anything so I thought why not give it a crack.”

Samu did some odd jobs during his time in the UK but most of his time was spent playing rugby, which to his surprise was often in some absolutely brutal conditions, like that snowy afternoon.

Pete Samu during his time at St Ives. Photo; St Ives Rugby Club

His time in Cornwall was a far cry from years with the Super Rugby champion Crusaders, an old school team that played hard rugby, led by a hard-nut player-coach.

“I think our coach was quite a hard head,” Samu recalled.

“It was quite old school as well. He was a player coach.

“He had a few good stories about when he was playing for Cornwall about all his punch-ups and off the field antics.”

After Cornwall, Samu returned to Australia and played for Sydney club Randwick, before moving to New Zealand and eventually playing with the Crusaders, a move he said paved his way to Test rugby.

“I learnt so much being over with the Crusaders. I don’t think I would be here today if I had not been there,” he said.

Pete Samu has gone from Crusaders to the Wallabies in six months. Photo: Getty ImagesIn the Wallabies fold now, Samu is still constantly learning, picking the brains of Michael Hooper and David Pocock and offering some tips in return, though he jokingly suggests his best advice is in the off-field arena.

“They are both definitely great leaders, “ he said.

“It is good because they are the same position so we all feed off each other.

“I get quite shocked when they ask me for tips on things to do. I give them tips, more off the field.”

Samu is in line to replace Pocock in this weekend’s Twickenham Test should Pocock fail to recover from a neck injury this weekend.

Pocock was on light training duties but stayed out of contact drills on Tuesday, still under an injury cloud.

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika will name his team on Thursday night AEDT, ahead of Saturday’s Test.

Australia takes on England at Twickenham on Saturday November 24, kicking off at 3pm local, Sunday 2am AEDT, LIVE on beIN Sports and SBS.