Daniel Tai Manu
- 721Wallaby Number
Daniel Manu was an imposing flanker of Tongan heritage who enjoyed a brief career in Wallaby gold.
Born in Tonga but educated at Auckland’s Penrose High School, Manu represented Auckland in the U18s through to the U21s. In 1990 he was selected for New Zealand U21s and that same year made his senior Auckland debut. He went on to become an All Black triallist.
Manu moved to Australia in 1994, joined the Eastwood club in Sydney and debuted for New South Wales against the ACT in Sydney. However, despite his almost 2 metre, 115 kg frame Manu only really burst onto the domestic representative scene in 1995 when he starred for New South Wales ‘B’ against Argentina in Orange. Within a few months Manu found himself on a plane to South Africa as a replacement in the Wallabies’ Rugby World Cup squad where he made his Test debut against Romania in Stellenbosch.
He started in both Bledisloe Cup Tests that year and will be remembered for one classic piece of openside breakaway play when, in cover, he brought down a runaway Jonah Lomu with a copybook tackle to prevent a near-certain try.
Daniel Manu played 15 Tests for Australia in a three-year international career.
Manu won his first Test cap off the bench when he substituted David Wilson at openside flanker in the 42-3 Rugby World Cup pool game victory over Romania in Stellenbosch. He made his run-on XV debut at openside flanker in the 1st Test, 16-28 loss to New Zealand at Eden Park. Manu retained his spot for the 2nd Test a week later and finished the year with three caps to his name.
He earned seven caps from the 11 Wallaby internationals, predominantly as the starting blindside flanker although he was a replacement prop in the 2nd Test against Wales in Sydney. Manu scored his first Test try in the 56-25 win over Wales in Brisbane.
Manu played in five of the opening six Tests before he had a shoulder reconstruction that saw him miss both the tour to Argentina, the U.K. and Europe and most of the 1998 season.