Pete Samu is an explosive, ball carrying loose forward who became the first Wallaby to debut directly from a New Zealand province.
Samu was born in Melbourne to an American Samoan father and a Samoan mother and while his parents flew the flag for the All Blacks, young Peter supported the Wallabies. A powerful back-rower with a preference for the blindside flank, Samu actually played halfback for Moorabbin until the U18s before his schoolboy coach shifted him into the back-row.
In 2012 Samu played his club rugby at Randwick - where he won the ‘Best New Player’ award as well as the Windon Trophy for the club’s best back-rower - and was briefly in the Waratahs Wider Training Group under coach Michael Foley. Samu then spent a season in England with the St Ives club in Cornwall before he accepted an invitation to join the Tasman province in New Zealand. Samu played club rugby in Nelson with Waimea Old Boys and from there earned a call-up to the Tasman Makos. Later that season Samu made his ITM Cup debut against Auckland and he was in the Makos’ side that lost the tournament final to Taranaki.
The following year Samu was named the Player of the Year for the Crusaders Knights development team and towards the end of that season was selected in the Crusaders squad as injury cover. In 2016 he made his Super Rugby debut against the Blues in Christchurch and just over twelve months later played “a substantial role” in the Crusaders championship victory.
Another standout Super Rugby season in 2018 put his name firmly at the top of Wallaby coach Michael Cheika’s wish list. Samu then made the decision to commit to Australia when he signed with the Brumbies and, within a matter of weeks, wore Wallaby gold in the home series against Ireland.
In 2019, Samu’s Rugby World Cup ambitions were left in tatters after Cheika, without rhyme or reason, excluded his star backrower from the squad. Samu shrugged aside the disappointment and has gone on to firmly consolidate his position in the Wallabies’ match day squad over the past two seasons. Samu’s 2022 was one long highlight reel, particularly his effort against England in Perth and his man-of-the-match effort in the controversial Bledisloe loss in Melbourne.
2018 Samu won his first Test cap off the bench when he replaced Caleb Timu at No.8 in the 1st Test, 18-9 victory over Ireland at Suncorp. He collected a further eight caps over the course of the season including a debut in the run-on XV against South Africa in Brisbane. Samu missed the away matches against South Africa and Argentina after he hyperextended his left knee in the loss to the Pumas on the Gold Coast.
2020 He started the opening Test of the year, against New Zealand in Wellington, as the run-on No.8 before Harry Wilson assumed that position for the remaining five internationals of the COVID-reduced season.
2021 Samu didn’t play in the home series against France or the first two Bledisloe Tests however the super-sub returned to the win caps in each of the Wallabies final nine internationals. He did start twice during the year, at blindside flank against Argentina on the Gold Coast and at openside flank against Wales in Cardiff.
2022 Samu won a career high 13 caps, played in all three back-row positions, and proved a more than capable starting No. 7 during Michael Hooper’s absence.