Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi is confident the Toa Samoa will do the people of Samoa proud at the 2017 Rugby League World Cup.
Toa Samoa will take on the Kiwis in their first pool match at Mt. Smart Stadium tonight. The game will be live on TV1.
Tuilaepa commended the efforts of the Toa Samoa team who were in Samoa two weeks ago to prepare for the World Cup tournament.
“I commend the efforts by the Toa Samoa team who are placed fourth in the World Rugby League table and we have the ability to get a higher ranking,” he said.
“I want to take the opportunity to congratulate the team on making it this far and of course Samoa is in full support of our team.
“The Government through the S.I.F.A. (Samoa International Finance Authority) and of course the Cabinet has donated $420,000 for our Toa Samoa to assist in their preparations.”
Toa Samoa is captained by Frank Pritchard. The 33-year-old returned to the N.R.L. from the English Super League to join Parramatta this season.
Josh Papalii, who has played eight Tests for Australia, will represent Samoa for the first time and will play alongside Canberra teammates Junior Paulo and Joey Leilua in a strong Toa Samoan side with extensive N.R.L. and Super League experience and a blend of youth.
Zane Musgrove, Jazz Tevaga and Jarome Luai are the other newcomers to the squad, while Joseph Paulo returns to the side since 2010.
Ben Roberts, Leeson Ah Mau, Peter and Sione Mata’utia, Sam Tagataese and Tautau Moga will also boost the performance of the squad.
Toa Samoa coach, Matt Parish says he has assembled a strong and experienced squad with the desire to represent Samoa.
“Despite some players being unavailable due to injury, we have a very strong squad that will do Samoa proud,” said Parish of the squad that will take on New Zealand (Auckland, 28th October), Tonga (Hamilton, NZ, 4th November) and Scotland (Cairns, 11th November).
“It’s tough and I’m looking forward to seeing what these boys can do.”
Rugby League Samoa president, Tagaloa Faafouina Su'a, said team work would be the focus of their preparations leading up to the opening game against the Kiwis.