Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Male Sa’u joining the Melbourne Rebels


Centre Male Sa’u is the latest Japanese international to earn a contract in Super Rugby. He joins hooker Shota Horie at the Australian side the Melbourne Rebels.

This week there was was some significant news for Japanese rugby as centre Male Sa’u became the fourth international to get a Super Rugby contract. He joined the Melbourne Rebels which took a while to confirm as it had been rumoured for a couple of months, and he had also previously been linked with the Waratahs.
Over the past year since qualifying by residency following three seasons at Yamaha Jubilo, Sa’u has become a very important and valuable member of the Japanese team.

Sa’u has some great strength and ability to win the gainline battle, superb agility, good pace and is solid defensively. Also last year he proved himself very committed to playing for Japan, he injured his ankle but with painkillers played through the wins over Wales and Canada at 70 or 80% fitness but still managed to play a key role in both games.

He has a lot of attributes in his favour and they were seen throughout 2013 for Japan, but there is one area that needs tidying up and that is some of his handling. On occasions his offloads have come off excellently, but his passing can be inconsistent and his catching can be fumbling.

The game last year that perhaps summed him up in a nutshell was against Russia. Sa’u every time he caught the ball he was a constant danger to the Russian defence, beating the gainline virtually every time and scoring two tries. If you watched the highlights package you would think he was the outstanding player, but amongst those good runs were umpteen errors.

Sa’u’s handling was nearing Lauaki levels that match, which was lucky for Russia as it probably saved them from a 60 point plus embarrassment. Japan missed numerous try scoring chances that game and kept losing the ball in the Russian 22. In total Sa’u personally conceded 8 turnovers with ball in hand.

(Video: Sa'u's mixed match against Russia last November)
It will be interesting to see if now playing at Super Rugby level with perhaps some tougher competition for his place and the possibility of several more intense matches, if Sa’u can improve and fix the fumbles as he has the potential to become a genuine top class player if he can.

No comments :

Post a Comment