Why Wallaby Samu hid from haka
NEW Wallabies backrower Pete Samu has admitted he had to hide when facing the All Blacks' haka but not because of any intimidation factor.
The quietly-spoken Samu revealed that eye-balling All Blacks prop Joe Moody just wasn't working last month because the bearded front-row enforcer kept smiling at him.
The scenario sums up the varied route that the Melbourne-born forward of Samoan heritage has taken to reach the Wallabies pack via stints in Brisbane, Sydney, Nelson and Christchurch.
Samu had shared the Super Rugby title and celebrations at the Crusaders with Moody as a teammate just weeks before the Bledisloe Cup stoushes.
"Well, I was trying to keep a straight face during the haka because I could see Joe Moody smiling at me," Samu said.
"I had to sort of step in behind one of our tall boys so I didn't have to look at him."
Samu was surprised and honoured by the gesture of another Crusaders' All Black in Sydney which continued a tradition that debutant Tim Horan savoured in 1989 when Joe Stanley gifted him his black jersey in Auckland.
"(Centre) Ryan Crotty actually gave me his jersey. I went to give him mine as a swap but he said 'When you get a few more we can swap'," Samu said.
Samu now has six after his hardworking effort as starting No.8 in the fighting 23-18 victory against South Africa and their powerful pack in Brisbane last weekend.
The ongoing fitness concerns over David Pocock's neck mean Samu may yet step up for another full-on Test against a pack, just as big and skilful, when Argentina visit Cbus Super Stadium on the Gold Coast on Saturday night.
Samu, 26, still can't quite believe how his career has reached this point so quickly but talent-spotter Michael Cheika had taken note of his ball-playing, his defence and extra polish in the Crusaders' system.
"A year ago I was playing with Tasman in the Mitre 10 Cup in New Zealand and this wasn't really a thought or a plan," the Brumbies-bound Samu said.
"Probably getting closer to home was the main reason (I came back to Australia) and obviously there is the World Cup next year.
"I never really heard anything for me to stay (in NZ at a higher level) and I was pretty keen to come back and join a lot of boys I've known from playing in Australia before."