Toa Samoa quietly dreaming of Rugby League World Cup success

Samoa are flying right under the radar for the Rugby League World Cup, and captain Frank Pritchard wouldn't have it any other way.

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

They've now touched down in Auckland - home to an enormous Samoan diaspora - in preparation for Saturday night's clash with the Kiwis.

Pritchard, a 26-cap Kiwis veteran who has elected to represent his heritage at the Cup, couldn't wait to showcase his Samoa side to the world.

He had every belief they could make waves at the event.

Following Saturday's match against his former Test side, Pritchard will lead Toa Samoa into clashes with Tonga in Hamilton and Scotland in Cairns.

Should they finish in the pool's top three, a quarter final will follow.

"We're happy to go under the radar, as underdogs - there's been a lot of talk about those two other teams," Pritchard said.

"Everyone's in the group (and) we've got a goal that we want to finish in the top four, so we're working our way towards that."

The 33-year-old Pritchard, an NRL Premiership winner with Penrith and Challenge Cup winner with Hull, admitted the Cup would be his Test swansong.

He'll be playing alongside one of Samoa's strongest ever squads, including ex- Kangaroo Josh Papalii, Joey Leilua and playmaker Ben Roberts.

A host of Warriors-based players - including Ken Maumalo, Sam Lisone, Bunty Afoa and Jazz Tevaga - will also pull on the blue and white jumper.

Second-rower Pritchard said his teammates were keeping him young.

"They're all enthusiastic, all want to be here, and the good thing about us is that we're the easy-go team, off the cuff," Pritchard said.

"I'm just grateful and humbled to play for Samoa this year.

"We've just got to do what we do best, play to our strengths - we can't afford to (try and) be another team that we're not."