Versatile Setaimata Sa carved out decade-long NRL and Super League career while also representing Samoa and New Zealand after getting his rugby league grounding in Canterbury.
A Shirley and Papanui junior, Samoa-born Sa represented New Zealand Under-16s in 2003 and the Junior Kiwis in 2004-05 before being signed by Sydney Roosters.
The 18-year-old made his NRL debut in 2006, playing 12 games for the Ricky Stuart-coached Roosters and earning senior international honours with Samoa. Sa was regularly used in the halves during the Tricolours’ 2007 campaign but predominantly played as a centre or second-rower as the club surged to a top-four finish under Brad Fittler in 2008, scoring seven tries in 20 top-grade outings.
Only 20 years of age, Sa received his maiden Kiwis call-up for the 2008 Centenary Test against Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground, featuring at centre in the 28-12 loss. He scored tries in World Cup warm-up matches for the All Golds against NZ Māori in New Plymouth (non-Test) and in the Kiwis’ 56-8 Test win over Tonga at Mt Smart Stadium
Sa came off the bench in the tournament-opening 30-6 loss to the Kangaroos and, in what would be his final appearance for the World Cup-winning Kiwis, played in the second-row in a 48-6 group-stage thrashing of Papua New Guinea on the Gold Coast.
Sa made 20 starts at lock, centre, five-eighth and second-row for the struggling Roosters in 2009, taking his NRL appearance tally to 66 games, but was overlooked for the Kiwis’ mid-season Test and Four Nations campaigns and joined Catalans Dragons at the end of the year.
Frequently switching between the backline, the halves and the forward pack, Sa played over 100 Super League games for Catalans (2010-12), Hull FC (2014-15) and Widnes (2016). His stint in England also included a season in rugby union with London Irish, during which time he also played a 15-a-side Test for Samoa against Canada.
Sa returned to Australia in 2017 to join Queensland Cup side Mackay Cutters and subsequently played in the Mackay District Rugby League competition.
NEW ZEALAND (2008)
4 Tests – 1 try (4 points)
-2008 World Cup