Toa Samoa

Toa Samoa v Fiji Bati preview

Both squads feature plenty of names who were in action in the recent World Cup 9s – a weekend that will be more fondly remembered by semi-finalists Samoa than a Bati side that surprisingly lost every game to finish last in its pool.

Being a one-off Test, both teams are playing for pride in the jersey but of arguably more value to both teams is simply the chance to get the groups together given how infrequently these chances come along in a packed schedule.

Toa Samoa Takes Up the Rugby League World 9s Challenge

Toa Samoa are in Pool C with Fiji, Tonga and Cook Islands.

The men’s category have 3 pools. All the Pacific Island teams with the exception of PNG are in Pool C. Pool A will be competitive with Australia, NZ, PNG and USA. England headline Pool B which includes France, Lebanon and Wales.

The women’s category has 1 pool made up of Australia, England , NZ and PNG.

Toa Samoa is fielding an experienced squad for the modified version of the game with all 16 named being contracted NRL players.

Fiji and Samoa victors in Sydney triple-header

The Fiji Bati bounced back from last year's loss to Papua New Guinea by thumping the Lebanon Cedars 58-14 at Leichardt Oval.

Little known halfback Brandon Wakeham contributed 20 points for the Fijians with eight conversions and a try to his name, as well as having a hand in a couple of other scores.

Rookie Parramatta winger Maika Sivo continued his good year with a double while fellow flyer Suliasi Vunivalu also crossed twice.

Jayson Bukuya led the Bati on defence with 29 tackles.

Papua New Guinea v Toa Samoa: Pacific Test preview

It makes for an interesting match-up in the 2019 Ox & Palm Pacific Test Invitational between two nations with not a lot of playing history against each other.

Different styles and different strengths mean on-paper analysis leads to a few possibilities in the outcome.

Will Samoa, boosted by the return of Martin Taupau, power straight through the middle? Or can the more nimble PNG playmakers use speed and skill to stand-up the Samoans?

The Rundown

Key match-up

Jamayne Isaako latest player to swap Kiwis for Toa Samoa

The 2018 NRL rookie of the year played two tests for the Kiwis last year but joins Martin Taupau in swapping black for blue ahead of this weekend's Oceania Cup test against Papua New Guinea, in a Samoan squad that will be captained by his Broncos team-mate Anthony Milford.

Toa Samoa head coach Matt Parish said they add to a very strong line-up to take the Kumuls.

"They're very good players but we've got a lot of good players to choose from," he said. "They've certainly earnt their right to be picked so we're looking forward to them playing."

Afoa eyes Kiwis switch for Tonga showdown

While Afoa was at pains to state he cherishes each of his six Test caps for Samoa, he confirmed to that he won't be following the likes of Jason Taumalolo and Andrew Fifita in opting to remain with an island nation over a tier one team.

"I would take a Kiwi jersey with both hands," Afoa said.

"I have played for Samoa and am always proud to do that, but if the opportunity comes to play for NZ then they will get all my efforts.

"It's a great opportunity that a lot of kids dream about and work their butts off to get."

Samoa out to make amends and plan for the future

Despite reaching the quarter finals after salvaging a 14-all draw against Scotland in the group stages of the tournament, the winless Samoan side were embroiled with backlash after a string of disappointing performances and talk their talk of players – including Leilua – returning to their NRL clubs in the pre-season overweight.

One of the more experienced leaders in the line-up, Leilua told coach Matt Parish identified the fixture as a chance to build depth for the nation.

"They're the future for our team," Leilua said.

Toa Samoa's Jorge Taufua puts mum first

The 26-year-old has a Tongan dad and Samoan mother and previously represented Mate Ma'a Tonga, with his last test being the Rugby League World Cup qualifying win over the Cook Islands in 2015.

He was ruled out of World Cup consideration last year after suffering an anterior cruciate ligament tear midway through the NRL season.

Taufua said he reached out to Toa Samoa coaching staff a few weeks ago to make it clear he was keen to play for them in the Pacific Test.

Milford chooses Samoa over Origin as four players defect to NZ

The 23 year old played in Queensland's Game One State of Origin defeat against New South Wales earlier this month but will be unavailable for Game Two on Sunday after opting to represent Samoa.

Milford played in Samoa's Pacific Test defeat by England last May but missed the World Cup due to a shoulder injury.

Manly winger Jorge Taufua is set to make his debut for Samoa, having previously represented Tonga, however four former Toa Samoa internationals have switched allegiance to New Zealand ahead of the Kiwis controversial test against England in Denver this weekend.

Tonga to name formidable team for Test against Samoa

Fonua-Blake, who played for Tonga in last year’s corresponding Test against Fiji, has decided to again align himself to the Mate Ma’a after representing the Kiwis at the World Cup.

The Manly prop will join a powerful Tongan pack led by Taumalolo and Fifita, which is set to also include the likes of Tevita Pangai jnr, Joe Ofahengaue, Siosiua Taukieaho, Peni Terepo and Manu Ma’u.

Hopoate, Konrad Hurrell, David Fusitu’a Solomone Kata, Mahe Fonua, Daniel Tupou and the Jennings brothers, Michael, Robert and George are in contention for places in the outside backs.