Brian Lima, of Somoa, is the only player to have played in five World Cups (over a 17 year period).
Nicknamed the "Chiropractor" because of his back-breaking tackles on opponents, was the youngest player at the 1991 World Cup, a 19-year-old winger in his second season with the national team.Brian said "It was Gordon Hunter, the Otago coach, who started The Chiropractor name. He said every time I made a tackle there was always a clicking noise of a bone slipping out of place. I had no idea what chiropractor meant."
He helped the Samoans reach the quarter-finals in '91 following an upset 16-13 win over Wales, the 1987 semifinalists, in their opening match.
He also helped Samoa to the quarter-finals in '95 and to the quarter-final playoffs in '99, ensuring Lima is remembered as one of the country's greatest internationals.
His tackles have been fodder for highlights packages for years, including one on South Africa's Derick Hougaard at the 2003 World Cup and left the Springbok fly half dazed for several minutes.
His 31 Test tries included 10 in World Cups. The former Auckland Blues, Otago Highlanders and Bristol outside back had said before the championship that this would be his last international tournament.
Date of birth: 25/1/1972
Test caps: 65 (including 18 world cup appearances)
Test Debut: Wales, 1991 aged 19
Test Points: 133
Current Club: Bristol
After 17 years of services to Samoan rugby, the winger-cum-midfielder said it was a “timely” decision to retire for several reasons.
“Firstly, I have to listen to my body,” he said. “I’ve always maintained that when my body tells me it’s time to retire, I would.
“I also want to give the opportunity to other players to develop and play their best for Samoa.
“Most importantly, I want to spend time with my family. Being a professional rugby player is a very demanding job. Most of the time I’m separated from my wife and my children and I’m always travelling.
“But I’m at that stage now where I want to focus on other things in life outside rugby.”
Manu Samoa coach La’auli Michael Jones said Lima has earned the respect of the rugby community not only in Samoa, but also across the globe. “It’s been a real honour and a privilege to have Brian in the Manu Samoa team,” La’auli said. “He has been a wonderful asset, he’s such a consummate professional, a real icon of Samoan rugby.”
La’auli paid tribute to Lima’s commitment to his country and his ability to continue playing professional rugby for so long.
Chief Executive Officer of the Samoa Rugby Union, Su’a Peter Schuster, the man who discovered Lima in 1990, said the veteran was a legend whose achievements have made Samoans very proud.
“One thing I’ve been most impressed with about Brian has been his humbleness about his success,” Su’a said. “His commitment to his country cannot be questioned.
“To be able to sustain his strength, endure the pain and work hard for this many years has not been easy,” Su’a said.
“At Brian’s age, to be able to be as good as he is today, he’s had to work a lot harder than most players. He doesn’t just turn up to training. While other players are sleeping, he’s up running in the morning.
“When training finishes and other players walk away, you see Brian doing short sprints, working hard on other areas of his game.
“It’s an indication of his commitment and dedication to his country. He’s been a good example and an inspiration to young players.”
Another Manu Samoa great Lilomaiava Taufusi Salesa said Lima’s commitment to improve his game was what set him apart from the rest.
“He was very disciplined about his training,” Lilomaiava said. “There were many good players, probably better than Brian, but Brian’s commitment and willingness to improve was what made him such a wonderful player.
“He was always willing and determined to learn.”
To be able to represent Samoa for nearly 20 years was a privilege, Lima said.
“And from the bottom of my heart I want to thank you Samoa for your support,” he said.
“I want to thank the Head of State, who is the President of the Samoa Rugby Union, the Prime Minister, who is the Chairman of the Samoa Rugby Union, the Samoa Rugby Union and all our people for your support.
“Without your prayers, I’m certain I wouldn’t be where I’m sitting today.”
Lima also thanked his family for their prayers, especially his wife Sina and their three boys, Brian Telefoni, Maliko Ma’afala and Manu.
Lima made his debut for Samoa back in 1990 and featured in the famous World Cup win over Wales in 1991. He was the youngest player at the 1991 Rugby World Cup.
He played Super 12 rugby for Auckland and Otago before moving to Europe where he has featured for clubs such as Munster, Stade Francai, Bristol and Secom.
Lima has also been a part of the Pacific Islands combined rugby team.