Written by Oliver Kellner-Dunk
The Samoan national Rugby League team has come leaps and bounds since the dawn of the new millennium and in recent years has consistently boasted squads brimming with NRL and Super League talent.
When it comes to the Rugby League World Cup specifically Samoa have established themselves as a consistent knockout stage team by qualifying for the quarter-finals in 2013 and 2017 where they went on to lose to Fiji and Australia respectively.
In 2019 Samoa surprised many by qualifying for the semi-final of the Rugby League World Cup Nine’s tournament before being eliminated from the tournament by Australia.
Heading into this year’s World Cup though there is a different level of expectation surrounding Samoa as they have the potential to go deep into the knockout stage and possibly even the final.
Some of the game’s most exciting talent is eligible to represent Samoa, many of which have become superstars since the island nation last played in 2019.
For example, defending premiers and current ladder leaders the Penrith Panthers have a strong Samoan contingent in their side full of players that were predominantly nobody’s three years ago.
💥 The Clash of the Pacific is coming!
🇼🇸 Samoa vs. 🇨🇰 Cook Islands
🇫🇯 Fiji vs. 🇵🇬 Papua New Guinea
— Rugby League World Cup 2021 (@RLWC2021) May 24, 2022
Jerome Luai would have to be the most notable out of the bunch and the one most likely to represent Samoa at the World Cup having not too long ago become an ambassador for the nation.
Current Samoan International Moses Leota is also expected to don the blue jersey this October as is 2021 NRL Grand Final try-scorer Stephen Crichton who was born in Samoa’s second-largest city Apia.
Brian To’o is another Samoan Panther but it is currently unclear whether he will opt to represent Australia or Samoa at the World Cup.
Other players such as Josh Aloiai, Marion Seve, David Nofoaluma and Parramatta Eels forward Junior Paulo have also come a long way since last playing for Samoa with Paulo having made his State of Origin debut for New South Wales in 2020.