Toa Samoa could field new, young faces in test against Fiji Bati

The Toa Samoa side that will take on Fiji Bati in October could include several new faces.

Coach Matt Parish has been scanning through the list of players this past week to come up a formidable side for the test match.

Parish says he has a larger pool of athletes to select from thanks to NRL Secretariat and new Rugby League World Cup CEO, Andrew Hill.

He says most of the players are currently in NRL or Super League.

Parish adds many players are excited about the prospect of playing for Toa Samoa since the test match was announced in May.

“To be a part of the first test match ever hosted in Samoa and to play in front of their families and the people of Samoa. I’ve been contacted by at least 20 or 30 really young players who want to play in this game,” he added.

Parish adds with the upcoming World Cup, there is a need to keep experienced players as well.

 “We haven’t been having the opportunity to pick our players until now. I think clubs are finally beginning to see the efforts of the Pacific Nations,” he said.

“The Pacific Test is the beginning of our efforts leading up to the World Cup next year and this test match is going to be a big game because all ours players are going to be available,” he said.

“We’re looking at our veterans like Tim Lafai, Antonio Winterstein, Kaisa Pritchard with at least four or five. But we will also have some of the newer stars like Faamanu Brown and them. We cannot pick it (team) yet but I can say our options have really expanded,” he added.

“It’s a passion for me to be a part of Rugby League Samoa and I’m proud to know Samoa is fourth in the world but I want to put us further up to first,” said Parish.

Samoa’s favourite bulldozer Mose Masoe will not be playing in the test match in October because of a knee injury that has benched him for the entire Super League season this year.

However, Parish says Masoe will be back in the blue jersey and ready to play again in the World Cup next year.


Photo: Matt Parish/ RNZ


Joshua Lafoai