Ulaiyasi Radike Samo
- 789Wallaby Number
Radike Samo was a Fijian-born backrower who became a cult hero during his time in Australian rugby.
Equally at home at lock or even on the wing, Samo was raised in Nadi and even represented Fiji at U19s level before he came to Australia in 1997 to play with an Auckland Fijian team to celebrate Fiji Day. He played club rugby for the Tuggeranong Vikings in 1998 and joined the ACT Brumbies in 1999. A year later he made his Super Rugby debut against Queensland in Canberra.
Samo soon became an integral part of the Brumbies’ success. In 2004 he was somewhat controversially named in the Test squads for both Australia and Fiji. Samo told the Fiji Times that he “always wanted to be a Wallaby and to finally make it into the team is a big thing for me. So I am definitely going for the Wallaby jumper and that's that." A couple of weeks later he made his Test debut against Scotland in Melbourne and by the end of the year had accumulated six caps.
Samo played a further two seasons at the Brumbies before he left Australia for Stade Francais in 2006/07. He then spent what were described as “three virtually anonymous years” with the Yokogawa Musashino Atlastars in Japan.
In 2010, and back in Australia, the 34-year-old Samo was plucked from Sydney’s Southern Districts club by Queensland coach Ewen McKenzie as a stop-gap replacement for the injured-James Horwill. A little over twelve months later Samo started at No.8 when the Reds won their maiden Super Rugby title. Samo was then named in the Wallaby squad for the 2011 Tri-Nations tournament and, some 2,456 days or the best part of seven years after his last Test cap, took the field against South Africa in Durban. Two weeks later Samo raced more than 60 metres to score the IRB Try of the Year against New Zealand in Brisbane. He then won a place in the Wallaby squad for the Rugby World Cup and played in all seven matches, including an injury-driven rare appearance on the right wing against Russia.
Samo played 23 Tests for Australia over his nine year, three season international career.
Samo won his first Test cap in the run-on XV at blindside flanker in the 1st Test, 35-15 victory over Scotland in Melbourne. He started the next four Tests, missed most of the Tri-Nations, and earned one cap on the end-of-season Spring Tour.
Almost seven years after his sixth Test cap, Samo returned to international rugby in the 2nd Test, 14-9 win over South Africa in Durban. He was picked at No.8 for the 2nd Test against New Zealand and scored a most memorable first Test try. Samo won selection to his first Rugby World Cup and played in every match. In the final pool game against Russia, and aged 35, he was picked on the right wing due to an Australian back-line injury crisis. Samo won a career high 10 caps in 2011.
Samo earned seven Test caps, predominantly during the Rugby Championship before his final international against France in Paris.