PR - April 20 2013 will mark a historic moment in International Rugby League, as Toa Samoa take on Mate Ma’a Tonga in a standalone test.
The test will be a first between two nations other than Australia and New Zealand to mark ANZAC Day. The game will provide an opportunity for both Samoans and Tongans to honour their heroes who fought for their freedom in the War.
The occasion will also allow the Pacific Islander players to represent their nations during the NRL season.
Anticipation is building for the test, not only within in the passionate Samoan and Tongan communities, but in the rugby league community as a whole.
Hosted by Centrebet Stadium in Penrith, the April Test is set to capture the same excitement and exuberance of the 2008 Rugby League World Cup match held at the same venue.
Both sides will use the test in their selection process for the 2013 RLWC to be held in the UK later this year. A growing wealth of Pacific Islander talent in the NRL has ensured both teams will boast their most skilful and electrifying sides in the rich history between the two opponents.
The test will also serve as a celebration of the Pacific Islander community in Sydney. Market stalls will be held in the stadium
precinct displaying an abundance of Polynesian goods, food and cultural displays.
Two NSW Cup games and the Under 20s State of Origin game will serve as curtain raisers to the test which will kick off at 7.30pm and be broadcast across Australia live on Fox Sports and also on Pacific television.
The Toa Samoa Squad will be named on April 14.
Reni Maitua was born 6 June 1982 to an Australian mother and Samoan father.
A versatile player, Maitua’s preferred position is lock, but can also cover centre, second row and five-eight.
Maitua signed with Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs in 2002, spending two years in premier league before making his first grade debut against Parramatta in round 1, 2004. Throughout the season he became a regular member of the team and a fan favourite, and experienced the greatest achievement in rugby league by playing in the premiership winning side in the 2004 grand final.
Honouring his mother’s heritage, Maitua represented Australia in the first test against New Zealand in the 2006 Tri-Nations series.
Unfortunately, an ankle injury ruled him out for the remainder of the series.
Other representative selections include City Origin and the Prime Minister’s XIII sides in 2005.
Maitua enjoyed a brief stint at Cronulla Sharks, before joining the Parramatta Eels in 2011.
In preparation for his new team, Maitua travelled to Thailand to undertake an intensive training camp. Training for 5 hours a day during the hottest month of the year, Maitua returned to Australia not only in the best shape of his life, but with a renewed focus and determination to give football his all.
Maitua soon became a leader at Parramatta, lifting his team onfield through strong performances and character, despite poor results for the Eels in the NRL competition.
This leadership, along with a committed training ethic, earned Maitua the role as co-captain of Parramatta in 2013.
With strong leadership skills and playing experience at an international level, Maitua makes an ideal candidate for Toa Samoa selection.
The recent visit to Australia of Rugby League Samoa officials saw the official signing of the partnership between Toa Samoa and Fi-ta Sportswear.
The outfitter will provide jerseys and streetwear for the 2013 RLWC and April Test Match.
Former Toa Samoa players Nigel Vagana and Frank Puletua joined Toa hopeful Roy Asotasi recently to design the Fi-ta jerseys.
The jerseys will incorporate a tatau design, ensuring Samoan culture shines on the world stage.
A special jersey will also be designed for the April Test to commemorate the historical occasion.
Fi-ta has also made a range of streetwear available to supporters.
The shirt and hat collection will be available to purchase at the April Test, and can also be ordered online by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.