11 Nov 2022

Toa Samoa out for revenge against England in World Cup semi-final

2:08 pm on 11 November 2022
Samoa's Joseph Suaali'i is tackled during the 2021 rugby league World Cup men's opening match against England in Newcastle.


Toa Samoa have "unfinished business" when they face England this weekend in the semi-finals of the Rugby League World Cup in London.

England are the overwhelming favourites, having thrashed Samoa 60-6 in the tournament opener just three weeks ago.

But Toa Samoa prop Royce Hunt is vowing to make amends for that drubbing.

"We have got some unfinished business with the England team," he said. "They embarrassed us in game one, so we are going to come out and hopefully put on a show for the world."

Samoa created a shock by beating Tonga 20-18 last weekend in the quarter-finals to make the last four.

Mate Ma'a Tonga were heavily favoured by the bookmakers to win, with many sports commentators doubting the self-confidence of Toa in the wake of the big defeat to England. But the same commentators also attributed Toa's loss to England to a lack of passion and not a lack of player quality.

In fact, Samoa had entered their opener against England in a confident mood, with nine of their players having played in the NRL Grand Final, and that lack of passion is no longer in question, with their spirited display against Tonga last weekend.

Samoa's Junior Paulo looks to offload during the rugby league World Cup men's quarter-final against and Samoa on November 6.

Samoa's Junior Paulo looks to offload during the rugby league World Cup men's quarter-final against and Samoa on November 6. Photo: OLI SCARFF/AFP

Samoan flags sell out in Apia

Their enthusiasm was also fuelled by an explosion of passionate support from their fans, with Samoan flags and block parties now filling the streets of Apia, around the country, and across New Zealand and Australia.

It's been a long time coming for many Samoans in the neighbourhoods of South Auckland, who have had to endure years of loud Tongan music blasting from red flag adorned cars since Mate Ma'a Tonga's success at the 2017 World Cup and subsequent wins over Australia and Great Britain in the following years. According to the Samoa Observer, in Apia, Samoan flags have sold out.

But the home favourites England are also passionate, having dominated all of their opponents so far. In their quarter-final, England thrashed Papua New Guinea 46-6 - the Kumuls having been regarded as the most passionate team in the whole tournament.

But regardless of the game's outcome, Samoan fans are expected to be partying in the early hours of Sunday morning, celebrating their country's first semi-final appearance in a world cup in either rugby code.

Both teams will field their best squads, with Samoan captain Junior Paulo cleared to play following a successful appeal against a one-match ban for a dangerous tackle.

The game kicks off on Saturday at 2.30pm UK time (Sunday 3.30am NZ Time) at the Emirates Stadium in London.

Samoa vs England Team lists

Samoa: 21 Fa'amanu Brown, 4 Stephen Crichton, 20 Chanel Harris-Tavita, 15 Royce Hunt, 23 Oregon Kaufusi, 25 Tim Lafai, 16 Spencer Leniu , 6 Jarome Luai, 2 Taylan May, 7 Anthony Milford, 8 Josh Papali'i, 10 Junior Paulo (captain), 11 Ligi Sao, 26 Ken Sio, 12 Jaydn Su'a, 1 Joseph Sua'ali'i, 17 Martin Taupau, 5 Brian To'o, 22 Kelma Tuilagi

England: 1 Sam Tomkins, 2 Tommy Makinson, 3 Kallum Watkins, 4 Herbie Farnworth, 6 Jack Welsby, 7 George Williams, 8 Tom Burgess, 9 Micky McIlorum, 10 Luke Thompson, 11 Elliott Whitehead, 12 John Bateman, 13 Victor Radley, 14 Dom Young, 15 Morgan Knowles, 17 Mike Cooper, 18 Chris Hill, 20 Mike McMeeken, 21 Marc Sneyd, 24 Kai Pearce-Paul

Manu Samoa fans at the game.

Photo: RNZ / Leilani Momoisea