The Toa Samoa team for the Rugby League World Cup was hosted by the government during a cocktail at Tanoa Tusitala Hotel on Wednesday night.
The team is in the country to get the nation’s blessings before the World Cup which kicks off in New Zealand next Saturday when Samoa takes on the mighty Kiwis at home.
Since arriving on Sunday, coach Matt Parish and his troops have been training hard and keeping a low profile.
Parish said the plan is to do away with the distraction to allow the players to focus and get the team to do what they need to do.
The coach said they would prefer to do their talking on the field.
At the function on Wednesday night, Acting Prime Minister Papali’i Niko Lee Hang was joined by the Minister of Education, Sports and Culture, Loau Keneti Sio to wish the team all the best.
Also present were fans, sponsors, families and friends of the players.
Papali’i acknowledged the players for choosing to represent Samoa, especially for some of them who had the option of playing for New Zealand or Australia.
The Acting Prime Minister reminded them that when they take the field, they are not alone.
They will be taking with them the hearts and prayers of more than 180,000 Samoans in Samoa and thousands more across the globe who will be cheering them on. The team departs Samoa this afternoon.