Man of the Match: AJ Alatimu provides scoring punch for SaberCats

Mar 26, 2024 | Uncategorized

By Aaron Wilson

AJ Alatimu had a unique position, and perspective on the SaberCats’ historical win over the Seattle Seawolves, a team they had never defeated before.
Following a 42-40 victory in a match that allowed Houston to remain undefeated with a 4-0 record and defeat previously unbeaten Seattle, Alatimu, a former Seawolves starter, was surrounded by well-wishers from his former team.
Alatimu was named the Man of the Match after delivering several brilliant scoring goals and having the best hangtime for the SaberCats.
“There definitely were some emotions there going back to Seattle,” Alatimu said. “That’s obviously a special place to me, my first team in Major League Rugby. I had to put those emotions aside and I’m happy we got the result going.”
Alatimu, 30, was acquired in a trade for Joe Taufete’e from the Seawolves in September.
Last season, Alatimu played 1,078 minutes and scored 107 points. He led Major League Rugby with 164 points and 67 goals kicked and 5,521 kicking meters in 2022.
A native of Apia, Samoa, Alatimu previously played for Perth Spirit, Brisbane City and Western Force.
He competed in the World Series Rugby competition. He was named to Samoa’s squad in the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
As a center for the SaberCats, Alatimu provides a quarterback-point guard role in directing the attack.
“I think I bring experience and a help in controlling the forwards and just putting the team in the right areas,” Alatimu said. “Just being that calm guy who sets things up. It’s mainly my job on when to kick and when to run.”
The SaberCats are looking to keep the momentum going Friday night on the road against the Dallas Jackals.
“It’s a short turnaround,” Alatimu said. “We’ll only have a few sessions before the game. It’s going to be a tough one. Dallas is never easy. We have to  put this game behind us and get ready for the next game.”