Samoa name burly team to face Kiwis

Samoa have thrown few squad surprises ahead of Saturday's Rugby League World Cup clash with New Zealand, naming a burly starting side.

A monster forward pack including captain Frank Pritchard and Canberra-based duo Junior Paulo and Josh Papalii will take to the field in Auckland, hoping for an upset win over the hosts.

With several Australian and Kiwi-born players, that's a distinct possibility.

Ben Roberts starts at halfback, partnered by Joseph Paulo, while NRL regulars Tim Lafai and Joey Leilua line up in the centres.

There are four Warriors players in Matt Parish's extended squad - wing Ken Maumalo, hooker Jazz Tevaga, prop Sam Lisone and reserve Bunty Afoa.

While New Zealand and Tonga have stolen all the headlines ahead of this week's first round of Group B pool matches, Toa Samoa have been quietly working away on home soil, hoping to earn a spot in the Cup final four.

They arrived in Auckland earlier this week.

"It's exciting, great to be part of - to be part of a World Cup team is a fantastic experience and our preparation's been great," Parish said.

"The boys here have been very punctual, they're all out of good systems in their NRL clubs so they know what's expected.

"The biggest thing we've had to do is work on combinations and gel together."

Parish said his players would look to do their families and communities proud on Saturday, in a city that many Samoan immigrants call home.

Toa Samoa: Young Tonumaipea, Peter Mata'utia, Tim Lafai, Joey Leilua, Ken Maumalo, Joseph Paulo, Ben Roberts, Junior Paulo, Jazz Tevaga, Sam Lisone, Josh Papalii, Frank Pritchard (c), Leeson Ah Mau. Interchange: Pita Godinet, Herman Ese'ese, Suaia Matagi, Bunty Afoa, Zane Musgrove, Ricky Leutele, Frank Winterstein, Fa'amanu Brown.