Rugby | SPORTS

Saulo Into Coaching

“For years, Fijian forwards were like rolling tyres, they will roll, roll then collapse but Alan (Muir) taught us how to control the scrums,” he said.
20 Jul 2022 13:45
Saulo Into Coaching
Vodafone Flying Fijians tighthead prop, Manasa Saulo. Photo: FRU Media

International journeyman Ma­nasa Saulo has likened scrum doctor Alan Muir to 18th century Methodist mission­ary Reverend Thomas Baker.

“It is Alan (Muir) that changed the course for scrummaging for Fiji. He is like Thomas Baker, as had Reverend Baker not taken Christi­anity to the interior of Viti Levu we would still be in our grass skirts,” Saulo said from Raravou, Nadroga yesterday.

“For years, Fijian forwards were like rolling tyres, they will roll, roll then collapse but Alan (Muir) taught us how to control the scrums,” he said.

Back in Tamavua Village his mother Akesa Marama has been anticipating his return as it has been three days since he played his 50th game for the Vodafone Flying Fijians.

50th Test

His 50th game was against Manu Samoa in the last 2022 World Rugby Pacific Nations Cup championship match on Saturday at Lautoka’s Churchil Park; Fiji lost 20-23, Sa­moa hoisted the PNC trophy.

On Friday his village and families are hosting a feast for him in Suva to celebrate his rugby achievement.

“He called today (yesterday) say­ing that he is now in Sigatoka with officials assisting some Nadroga rugby clubs,” Marama said yester­day.

When contacted yesterday the Wainawaqa , Waidina, Naitasiri top tighthead prop said he was with Bill Gadolo at Peceli Derederenalagi’s village (Raravou) and they would then come down to Mavua.

The team has been facilitating for­wards coaching clinics in the west. They return to Suva today.

Saulo, 33, was playing for Atlan­ta Rugby in the American Major League Rugby when he was called late last year to join the Swire Ship­ping Fijian Drua for their first Su­per Rugby Pacific series this year.

Despite his mother’s pleas for him not to return, Saulo had big­ger plans in his mind. He packed his bags to join his countrymen in Australia.

“I was told to go and assist, typi­cally as an iTaukei I did not think twice about it, just packed up and flew out.

Fijian Culture

“We Fijians need to break away from the yes, yes culture, being over respectful is harmful.

“I came in as the middleman be­tween the coaching staff and play­ers to break that barrier.

“Jason Ryan soon after out match against Crusaders, he walked up to me and said, man, you still got it.

“We have been working together since, that was how I became leaner and better.

“My days on the paddock are near­ly up; the young ones need to come in now.

“In five years I want to concen­trate on coaching and be the local forwards specialist coach.

“I have mastered the skills.”

Invaluable Experience

As the curtain draws for the in­ternational journeyman, the tight­head prop who for 25 years has been donning the number 3 jersey since he was nine shares that obedience and hard work got him where he is now.

The national rep accumulated his invaluable experience playing club for Navy, provincial for Suva apart from playing top club rugby in Tou­lon, France and with the London Irish in the United Kingdom.

The only child of the late Ratu Sailosi Ramumu and Marama, he had attended St Agnes Primary School from Classes One to Eight before moving to Ratu Sukuna Me­morial School.

He has been part of the Fiji Rugby pathway from Under-9 with Milo Kaji, into secondary and two years of Deans while at the Lelean Sports Academy.


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