25 Apr 2015

Sport: Tongan coach backs Mate Ma'a for upset win over Samoa

12:33 pm on 25 April 2015

Tonga rugby league coach Kristian Woolf believes his team can cause an upset in next weekend's Pacific Test against Samoa on the Gold Coast.

The Tongan Rugby League team

The Tongan Rugby League team Photo: Supplied

The Mate Ma'a lost to Papua New Guinea in their only international match last year but did surprise Samoa in the inaugural Pacific Test in 2013.

The Toa earned praise during last year's Four Nations tournament, where they came within a converted try of beating both England and New Zealand.

But Kristian Woolf believes his players can match their Polynesian rivals.

"We definitely come into this game thinking we can win a game. I know from talking to a lot of the boys last year and watching Samoa in the Four Nations it made all our blokes really proud - we certainly love seeing Samoa have the success they have. It also allowed us to think a little bit about what we might be able to do as a team and as a nation. I certainly have full confidence in the blokes that we pick that we can come up with a really good performance and get a win against Samoa. If we can do that and we can keep building on where we are at the moment then there's no reason we can't have the same success in a similar tournament down the track."

Fiji and Papua New Guinea will also square off next Saturday as part of the Pacific double-header.