Manu Samoa


Sunday, 24 June 2007

Legend Lima Bows Out

His story began seventeen years ago.
Su’a Peter Schuster and Manu Samoa selectors were scouting schools, looking at potential wingers for the Rugby World Cup in 1991.
One day, they were at St Joseph’s College, Alafua.
“We saw this young, fast and strong player,” Su’a recalled. “We were very impressed with his speed, especially his attitude.”
That same year, Manu Samoa great Lilomaiava Taufusi Salesa, coach of the Sevens team then, was looking for players for the Hong Kong Sevens, during the Marist International Sevens tournament.
“He was playing in the Marist Saints team,” Lilomaiava said, joking that the Saints was a team of B-grade players.
“If I may put it this way, the Saints wasn’t Marist’s strongest team. Yet this very young and talented player was part of that team.
“I was very impressed with his attitude,” Lilomaiava said.
That young man with blistering speed and the attitude of a champion was Brian Lima.
1990 was when he was discovered at the tender age of 18.


Seventeen years on, the young man discovered by Su’a and Lilomaiava has grown to become the greatest rugby player of all time in Samoa .
At 35-years-young, Lima, of Letogo, is not only widely respected by all Samoans; his name is right up there with some of the rugby greats worldwide.
No matter where you go in rugby circles, the name Brian Lima demands respect.
For good reason. At the 1991 Rugby World Cup where Samoa recorded that famous win over Wales, Lima was the youngest player in the tournament.
Over the years, he has earned the utmost respect of players all over the world.
After all, they don’t call him the “The Chiropractor” for no reason. Lima’s shuddering hits on defence can rearrange the bones of players at the receiving end.
His most famous hit was perhaps the one where he lined up Springboks five eighth Derrick Hougaard during the Rugby World Cup in 2003. Hougaard stayed on the ground for a while, dazed.
“That was a car accident,” one commentator said.
Many players have felt Lima’s wrath. Christian Cullen would remember his debut for the All Blacks against Manu Samoa some years ago. And who can forget the sight of Fijian fullback Norman Ligairi limping off with a bloody nose after he was ransacked by Lima at Apia Park a few years ago?
During Jonah Lomu’s prime, while most players were running scared to tackle the rampaging All Black, Lima was one of the first players to tackle him one-on-one in a test match, and brought him to the ground.


But Lima’s qualities stretched far beyond the 15s arena. He has represented Samoa many times at Sevens level.
And he has played rugby all over the world starting with Super rugby in New Zealand, then Europe, Japan and this year for Bristol.
He is one of relatively few players in rugby history to have appeared in four Rugby World Cups. In September, he will make history by becoming the only player to make his fifth appearance at the World Cup in France.
But perhaps one of Lima’s qualities we will remember for generations to come is his commitment to Samoan rugby. His Samoan heart is unquestionable.
While many players of his calibre were lured to play for the All Blacks, Lima remained loyal to Samoa. He has been a role model for many young people, guys and girls who have grown to become stars in their own right. Lima has been a superb inspiration.

Last Saturday, the Chiropractor played his last game for Samoa on home soil. It was an emotional farewell for one of Samoa’s most loved sons.
His dedication, unselfish determination to ensure Samoa was competitive on the international front, will not be easily forgotten.
A man who will be remembered for his Samoan heart, as someone who refused to believe in the impossible, an inspiration to his family, friends and our people, is bowing out of international rugby.
“It’s been a real honour and a privilege to have Brian in the Manu Samoa team,” coach La’auli Michael Jones said yesterday.
“Brian has been a wonderful asset, he’s such a consummate professional, a real icon of Samoan rugby. He will be missed.”
Indeed, Samoa will miss Brian Lima!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

He was one great player..I am blessed I took a photo with him when he came to Fiji with Manu Samoa in 2001.

Cheers to the Rugby Great