Written by Oliver Kellner-Dunk
To’a Samoa are certainly going to be the team to watch in the Rugby League World Cup which will commence in a little under a month from now in England.
Matt Parish’s side will be brimming with NRL talent after multiple players declared their allegiance to Samoa heading into the tournament.
Last year Penrith Panthers and New South Wales State of Origin half Jarome Luai not only declared he would be playing for the nation but became an official ambassador for Samoan Rugby League.
Since then multiple players have followed in Luai’s footsteps including his teammate and close friend Brian To’o who originally stated he would likely align himself with Australia but had a change of heart and was influenced by Luai.
The forward pack for Samoa will also be strong with the addition of soon-to-be Grand Finalist and potential 2022 premiership winner Junior Paulo from the Parramatta Eels, who like Luai and To’o has chosen to play for Samoa despite being eligible for the Kangaroos.
Most recently the game’s brightest young star Joseph Suaalii has also put his hand up to represent Samoa after being in Mal Meninga’s plans for the Australian squad.
🌍 With just three weeks until RLWC2021 kicks off, it's time to pick your adopted nation.
— Rugby League World Cup 2021 (@RLWC2021) September 23, 2022
Samoa made their international Rugby League return in June after not playing for two and a half years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
They took the field without the aforementioned players as they were all selected in the New South Wales squad for Origin two but still managed to dominate the Cook Islands 42-12.
Anthony Milford steered the Samoan side around the park as the backs were the stars of the show with David Nofoaluma scoring four tries and the Penrith duo of Taylan May and Izack Tago both rising to the occasion on their representative debut.
On the 15th of October Samoa will have the honour of playing in the first match of the World Cup against England and at this point must be considered favourites to make the final.
If Samoa qualifies for the knockout stages, they will be on the opposite side of the draw to Australia and New Zealand and should be favoured to win against just about any other side.