5 May 2021

Rugby League Samoa stands by under fire coach

7:56 am on 5 May 2021

Rugby League Samoa have quashed talk that Matthew and Andrew Johns could take charge of the national team in a star-studded coaching line-up with Sonny Bill Williams.

Samoa perform the Siva Tau before a test against Fiji in 2019.

Samoa perform the Siva Tau before a test against Fiji in 2019. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Speaking on Fox Sports at the weekend, Matthew Johns said the brothers wanted to help Toa Samoa emulate the success of Tonga in the international game.

He told the Matty Johns Show the former Newcastle, New South Wales and Australian stars were willing to coach the team for free and have already held discussions with Sonny Bill Williams about how it might work.

"We would do it for nothing. Quite seriously, and Joey is the same, you wouldn't take a cent. Sonny wouldn't," he said.

"It would be a bit of three-way coaching. I don't know how it would work, but in my opinion Samoa should be emulating what Tonga are doing. There should be a goal that within a couple of years Samoa should be beating Australia, like Tonga have been doing."

The incumbent Toa Samoa coach Matt Parish has been in charge since 2013 and has coached the team at the last two Rugby League World Cups.

Rumours have swirled for months about a possible exit, with claims Parish had fallen out with many of the current Samoan players.

Toa Samoa halfback Jerome Luai on the burst against Fiji.

Penrith Panthers star Jerome Luai is among the key players for Toa Samoa. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

But Rugby League Samoa President Tagaloa Faafouina Su'a issued a statement on Tuesday reaffirming its support for Parish.

"Rugby League Samoa head coach Matt Parish will continue his tenure with Samoa, and lead Toa Samoa into the Rugby League World Cup in the United Kingdom later this year," he said.

"Matt has been our head coach since 2013 and has helped strengthen our game on and off the field. We are a proud nation with passionate rugby league fans and I have no doubt that the best years for Rugby League Samoa are ahead of us.

"The Rugby League Samoa Board wish Matt and the team every success as preparations continue for the World Cup later this year."

Samoa rugby league coach Matt Parish.

Samoa rugby league coach Matt Parish. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Toa Samoa are scheduled to face host nation England in the opening match of the 2021 World Cup in Newcastle in October, before rounding out the group phase against Greece and France.

Samoa reached the quarter finals of the 2017 World Cup despite failing to win any of their four games.