Toa Samoa coach, Matt Parish, has revealed the reason behind Toa Samoa’s seemingly low-key preparations weeks away from the Rugby League World Cup.
While all the attention has been on Tonga, Parish said this is good for the Toa Samoa, who landed in the country on Sunday and have been training hard at Apia Park.
“It’s part of our preparations,” he said. “It’s time to work hard and prepare well. People can say what they want to say but there is a time for everything.”
“At this moment, we want to do our talking on the field given the hard work we’ve done in our training in the gym and on the field.”
Parish said the boys are in great spirits and they are happy to be back home.
“It’s been great. The boys have enjoyed being here in Apia, Samoa so far with our training going well and the people here have been fantastic.”
The low-key preparations have allowed the team to focus, he said.
“We’ve been having lots of good sessions so far and another one is this afternoon and we are working hard and it’s been great.”
Coach Parish is also confident and excited with the new set of players joining the team.
“Yeah it’s exciting; we’ve got some really young exciting talent coming through,” he said.
“I am really happy for guys like Josh Papali’i coming to represent Samoa for the first time. Obviously he did play for Queensland Australia and he is a great player and certainly has something to add to our team.”
“There are a couple of other young players that haven’t played for Toa Samoa yet and also some players who have played nine or 10 test matches like Ben Roberts, Pita Godinet and Leeson Ah Mau. So it’s exciting and it’s been a good mix.”
Coach Parish said one of the challenges they encountered when assembling the team was the number of injured players the team had after their N.L.R. club tournaments.
But he remains confident.
“We are probably missing nine or 10 players who couldn’t be available to this team but they have been injured and that’s unfortunate.”
“But that shows how far we have come to tell Samoa you know we can have that many players unavailable yet we still have such a strong and powerful squad and no doubt if we play well we will compete very well.”
Toa Samoa’s first game will be the previous Rugby League World Cup finalists New Zealand Kiwis in New Zealand.
They are also in the same pool with powerhouse Tonga Team and strong braveheart’s team from Scotland.
“If we can play well, we can sure compete with any team in the world,” he said.
“We’ve worked hard and preparations have been good and we will take that confidence to any game and we know we can play well”.
Parish also called for support from Samoans all over the world to get behind the Toa Samoa.