Rugby: Our Samoan International Women Captains around the world
Manu Sina shared this tweet last night and we had to take a closer look at these amazing women representing around the globe "An outstanding statistic in @WorldRugby where 5 captains in recent times are Samoans. Tama'ita'i leading from the front. #uso
Amazing because Samoa is a small island nation in the middle of the Pacific with a total population of just over 197,000 and to have FIVE Samoan women captaining international teams is an exceptional achievement!
and amazing because 4 of these women captain Tier 1 nations teams.
We take a closer look at these captains and their achievements starting with the Manu Sina (Samoa's Womens Rugby) captain.
MASUISUIMATAMA'ALI'I (SUI) TAUAUA-PAUARAISA
Captain: Manu Sina (Samoa)
Sui has been described by the Star Kiwi in Canterbury as the definition of a real-life Wonder Woman. She represents two nations in two different codes (She also played 7s for Samoa) and on top of that she fits in a full-time job as a clinical administrator with the Christchurch District Health Board, while also being a mother to her two young daughters Pine and Paia!
Born in Samoa, Sui moved to New Zealand when she was 13 and played rugby through high school in Auckland before giving rugby a rest when she became a Mother. She started playing again when she moved to Christchurch in 2010 and said “I only went back to playing because I knew I was getting quite big and just wanted something to do to lose some weight . . . it was just for fun and then it got serious.”.
This year alone she won club titles in both Rugby League with the Linwood Keas and Rugby Union with Christchurch. She was the only woman who played outside of Auckland clubs called up to the inaugral Warriors NRL team and she made her debut for the Kiwi Ferns against the Australian Jillaroos in October this year.
She then captained the Manu Samoa team in the Oceania series in November leading her side to the finals against Fiji!
Captain: Black Ferns (New Zealand)
Fiao'o only just retired from International Rugby after their Northern Hemisphere tour and is the most capped Black Fern ever. She was named in the 2017 Womens Rugby World Cup Squad and this year in the 2018 Queen's Birthday Honours Fiao'o was appointed an officer of the NZ order of merit for services to Rugby.
Check out more of her story through our 'Daughters of the Migration' story here:
Captain: Ireland Womens (Ireland)
The Samoan/NZer was named Captain of the Irish Womens Rugby team in their game against England last month & in 2016 was listed by the Irish Times as one of the 30 Most Influential Women in Ireland!
Sene (nee Fanene) was born in Oamaru and in her youth played rugby for Nth Otago & Hawkes Bay before walking away from rugby to battle an eating disorder & depression in her 20s. She's since been appointed onto the Board of Directors for 'BodyWhys: The Eating Disorders Association of Ireland.
She married Otago Highlanders George Naoupu & moved with him to Ireland where he was playing for Connacht. She started her own business (Senshaper) and is also an international fitness instructor, trainer & lifestyle coach. In 2011 she started playing club rugby again and in 2015 made her debut for Ireland in both 15s and 7s helping Ireland win the womens Six Nations.
Just last weekend she graduated with a Masters from the UCD Faculty and UCD School of Public Health, Physiotherapy and Sports Science
Captain: US Eagles (USA)
Born in California, Tiffany, her mother and four siblings moved to Samoa when she was 7. Three years later, they moved to New Zealand, where a high school coach convinced her to give competitive rugby a go. Over the next several years she played Rugby League for both Samoa & New Zealand, and in 2014, she bought a one-way ticket to the U.S. and joined the New York Rugby Club, where she won a national title.
In 2016 she debuted for the USA Eagles and in 2017 captained the team to a fourth-place finish in the Womens Rugby World Cup before turning to coaching. In April, she was named head coach of the Monroe College men's and women's teams and a couple of weeks ago she signed a deal to become the first woman coach in U.S. men's professional rugby and will serve as assistant coach of Rugby United New York, a Major League Rugby expansion team.
Captain: Wallaroos (Australia)
Liz Patu was born in Auckland and then raised in Samoa, before moving to Australia to live in 2004. She plays club rugby for the Queensland Reds and made her debut for the Wallaroos in 2014 for the Womens Rugby World Cup.
Since her debut she's now one of the most experienced players and has just over 20 caps to her name. She has been described as being fierce in defence and fearless in attack which has made her such an asset to the Wallaroos.
She made her debut as Captain for the Wallaroos in the historic double header fixture with the Qantas Wallabies & the All Blacks in Sydney earlier this year.