Sika Manu hailed by his Hull Club
HULL, England – January 8, 2018: 3.50pm (Hull Daily Mail): Sika Manu has returned to full Hull FC training this week after a tremendous World Cup which saw him lead Tonga to the semi-finals and inspire a nation, including new team-mate Mickey Paea.
After two strong seasons with the Black and Whites which helped the club earn two Challenge Cups, Manu departed in search of his second World Cup medal.
Having previously succeeded with New Zealand in 2008, the back rower went close to making the final but Tonga were narrowly beaten by England in the semis.
Despite that 20-18 loss in New Zealand, former Tongan international Paea admits he couldn’t be prouder of Manu’s achievements and more excited at the prospect of playing with him.
“I’m so proud of what he achieved at the World Cup. Usually to be on this side of the world is to be out of sight and out of mind,” Paea told the Mail. “But he’s been incredible with Hull and that was even felt back home as he was not only selected but chosen to lead the Tonga squad.
“That Tonga team was good enough to challenge any NRL side and he was captaining them. It says a lot about his standing in the game.
“Sika has been one of the cult heroes in that team and they managed to bring a whole nation together which was amazing. Tonga certainly brought excitement to that World Cup. I’m really looking forward to playing alongside him again because he’s someone I admire.”
In many rugby league fans’ eyes Manu and his team-mates should have been in the final after a debatable decision which cost Andrew Fifita and Tonga a last-minute try in the semi.
The official on the field chose not to go to the video referee after ruling Fifita had lost possession rather than been stripped, with Paea still insisting the call should have gone upstairs.
“It depends who I’m talking to. It was definitely worth looking at and I’ve seen those tries given that’s for sure,” Paea added. “That argument will go on.
“As a Tongan we probably felt like we deserved a bit of closure on it. It was worthy of going upstairs considering the result was riding on that one decision but what’s done is done. We just need to celebrate what they achieved during the World Cup.”
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