Samoa national rugby league team
The Samoa national rugby league team represents Samoa in rugby league football and has been participating in international competition since 1986. Known as Western Samoa prior to 1997, the team is administered by Rugby League Samoa and are nicknamed Toa Samoa (English: Samoan Warriors).
|Governing body||Rugby League Samoa|
|Head coach||Matt Parish|
|Most caps||Leeson Ah Mau (15)|
Ben Roberts (15)
|Top try-scorers||George Carmont (7)|
Antonio Winterstein (7)
|Top point-scorer||Ben Roberts (36)|
| Western Samoa 34 - 12 Tokelau |
(Rarotonga, Cook Islands; 1986)
| New Caledonia 0 - 76 Samoa |
(Auckland, New Zealand; 20 October 2004)
| New Zealand Māori 70 - 10 Samoa |
(Auckland, New Zealand; 21 October 2004)
|Appearances||5 (first time in 1995)|
|Best result||Quarter-finals 2000, 2013, 2017|
Western Samoa has particip in the Pacific Cup (1986–), World Sevens (1994, 1995, 2003), Super League World Nines (1996, 1997), World Cup (since 1995) and Pacific Rim (2004) competitions. Since 1998 the team has been known as Samoa.
Western Samoa made their debut in the 1986 Pacific Cup. Joe Raymond coached this side to a final where they went down to a strong NZ Maori side.Joe Raymond went on to coach them again in 1988 and would return again to coach them 10 years later in 1998 in a one off game against a Samoan team of Samoan resident players at Carlaw park.
Suani and Lyndsay Stowers operated Samoa Rugby League out of their North Shore home in Auckland and from the Richmond Rugby League Club house where Lyndsay ran the canteen. This resilient couple were known to have put a mortgage on their home to assist with funding the thirty (30) men representing Samoa in the Pacific Cup held in Tonga, 1990. This commitment lead to a historical win over the Maori team for the first time and won the 1990 Pacific Cup. Coached by the Richmond Bulldogs Head Coach, Steve Kaiser, the Western Samoan team put Samoan rugby league on the map.
Samoa then won the 1992 Pacific Cup over Tonga in an action filled thriller that went into two (2) overtimes and sent the NZ Rugby League and Polynesian rugby league public into a frenzy. The 1992 Tournament showcased all of NZ Rugby league talent and Australian Rugby league scouts were already booked to witness the 1994 Pacific Cup held in Fiji.
In 1993 Western Samoa were invited to the International Coca-Cola Sevens in Sydney. With Auckland based Samoan players such as Mark Elia, Tony Tuimavave, Tony Tatupu, Faausu Afoa and Des Maea followed by a group of up and coming players such as Matthew TuiSamoa, Lionel Perera, Aleki Maea, Paki Tuimavave, Joe Vagana, Sefo Fuimaono and Peter Lima, the team beat the Canberra Raiders and the Great Britain International team. Coached by the Richmond Bulldogs' Head Coach Steve Kaiser, this team gave Samoa the status to create the strong foundation Western Samoa Rugby League needed to move forward. Below this strong foundation however was the strength and commitment of two people: Suani and Lyndsay Stowers. These two held together the concept of Samoa Rugby League and without their dream, Samoa RL will not be where it is today.
Steve Kaiser in his sixth year as the Samoan Coach had an array of NZ based quality players for the 1994 Pacific Cup with the likes of Se'e Solomona, Tony Tatupu, the Tuimavave brothers Paki and Tony plus the loyal players of Mike Setefano, Matthew TuiSamoa, Alex Tupou and Mark Faumuina. Henry Suluvale and Rudy David led the contingent of first class players from Canterbury however this arsenal were well contained by the Tongan stars Jim Dymmic, John Hopoate and Albert Fulivae.
The 1995 Samoan team had the benefit of ex-All Blacks John Schuster and Va'aiga Tuigamala in their backline. When rugby union went openly professional players such as Apollo Perelini and Fereti Tuilagi left rugby league to return to the 15-man game.
Samoa lost the Pacific Cup in 1996.
The 1998 Pacific Cup team saw a new and old talent. Joe Raymond, one of the first Samoan Rugby League Rep coaches returned after coaching Tonga and the NZ Maori, the late Eddie Poching managed the team and the introduction of Francis Meli to Samoan Rugby League and Junior Papalii a loyal American Samoan Representative. Pati Tuimavave from the 1992 squad and Matthew TuiSamoa, the only survivor from 1990 Pacific Cup champion team returned. Samoa battled Tonga for the 1998 Pacific Cup again at Carlaw park and again Samoa regained the Pacific Champions Title.
The Pacific Cup was taken to Australia's Gold Coast in 2000 where Auckland coach John Ackland took over the reins. Ackland added another dimension to Samoa Rugby League and introduced rising stars, Wayne McDade and Itikeri Sapau-Citran (Schmidt), Tino Brown, Johnny Baker, Louie Talamavoa and bought Matthew TuiSamoa back into the Pacific Cup arena.
2000 Rugby League World Cup campaignEdit
Samoa took on Ireland, Scotland, and the Aotearoa Māori in the 2000 Rugby League World Cup pool stages. They would lose to 'the Irish' in their opening game, but they'd beat NZ Maori, and Scotland in their next two games, sealing a place in the knock-out stages. They would take on Australia in the quarter-final. Unfortunately, they ended their tournament with a thrashing 66-10 defeat (their biggest defeat up to date), sealing an end to a respectable World Cup Campaign.
2008 Rugby League World Cup campaignEdit
Samoa played in the Pacific Pool of the 2008 Rugby League World Cup Qualifiers. They beat the Cook Islands and Fiji, but lost to Tonga. On a points difference, Samoa came in third and had to play USA in the Repecharge Semi Final. Samoa won this match 42-10 and then played Lebanon on 14 November 2007 in the Repecharge Final to see who would take the 10th and final World Cup place. Samoa came out eventual winners of the 10th and final 2008 Rugby League World Cup place beating Lebanon 38-16 at the Chris Moyles Stadium, Featherstone.
Samoa took on Tonga and Ireland in the Tournament's pool stages. They beat their pacific rivals in a traditional tight pacific match-up, but they then lost to 'the Irish' by 34-16. This big losing margin, sent the Samoans into battle against the French in the Tournament's 9th place play-off. Samoa easily won, winning 42-10 and capping off an undesirable World Cup Tournament.
2013 Pacific Rugby League TestEdit
In April 2013, Samoa took on Tonga in the '2013 Pacific Rugby League Test' at Penrith Stadium. The International was created as a World Cup warm-up match. Tonga targeted Samoa's weak defence, and it paid off, thrashing the Toa Samoans by 36-4.
2013 Rugby League World Cup campaignEdit
Samoa automatically qualified for the 2013 Rugby League World Cup after participating in the 2008 tournament. They took on New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and France in the pool stage. In their first match they took on 'the Kiwis'. New Zealand were outright favourites, but Samoa never gave up in the match. Down 36-4 in the second half, Samoa gained unexpected momentum as they ran in scoring 5 consecutive tries, leaving them trail 36-24 with 15 minutes to go. In the end NZ would avoid a shocking upset, by scoring a try late to seal the match. Samoa then thrashed 'the Kumuls', and then they beat 'the French' to secure a spot in the Knock-out stage of the Tournament. Samoa would lose their quarter-final against Pacific rivals Fiji, and in doing so, ending their successful 2013 World Cup campaign.
2014 Pacific Rugby League TestEdit
In May 2014, Samoa took on Fiji in the '2014 Pacific Rugby League Test' at Penrith Stadium. The International was created as a qualifier for the final 2014 Four Nations spot. It was also a chance for the Four Nations team (winner of this international) to warm-up before the event kicked off later in the year. Samoa qualified for the 2014 Four Nations with a 32-16 win over their fierce rivals.
2014 Four NationsEdit
In the Four Nations, Samoa was the fourth nation and the underdogs against rugby league's three big heavyweight nations England, New Zealand and Australia. But they proved that they were anything but underdogs, losing to England by six points in a sea-sawing battle, and they were within four minutes of creating rugby league history by beating New Zealand. By the final round, Samoa still had a chance to qualify for the final, making this Four Nations the toughest ever. This Samoan performance added credential to the rugby league game showing that the game is not all about the big three. This performance has now seen a petition begin to see Samoa v New Zealand test matches during Australia's State of Origin series.
2015 Pacific Rugby League TestEdit
In May 2015, Samoa took on Tonga in the 2015 Polynesian Cup at Cbus Super Stadium. The International was part of a triple header which also included the Melanesian Cup, between Papua New Guinea and Fiji, and the Junior Kangaroos against the Junior Kiwis. The game was an absolute thriller with the lead alternating between the teams and the biggest margin throughout the match was only 6 points. However, there was always going to be one winner in the see-saw affair and it was Samoa who upended Tonga to win the Polynesian Cup by 18-16.
2016 Pacific Rugby League TestEdit
In May 2016, Samoa took on Tonga in the 2016 Polynesian Cup at Pirtek Stadium. The International was part of a triple header which also included the Melanesian Cup, between Papua New Guinea and Fiji, and the Junior Kangaroos against the Junior Kiwis. The traditional pacific rivalry between these two continued as they always produced big hits, meters, and try-saving tackles when needed. However this year's test-match saw way more errors than last year's but Samoa prevailed in the end, scoring 18 points again in the 12 point victory over their Pacific 'War rivals'.
2017 Rugby League World CupEdit
Samoa competed in The 2017 Rugby League World Cup and were placed in a group containing New Zealand, Tonga and Scotland. After defeats in the first two games against New Zealand and Tonga, Samoa drew 14-14 with Scotland in Cairns and qualified for the quarter finals of the tournament despite not winning a match. Samoa played against defending champions Australia and were defeated 46-0 in Darwin. In the aftermath of their elimination, former Samoan players including Reni Maitua publicly blasted the team and said that there needs to be pride restored to the Samoan jumper. Ex rugby league player Willie Mason claimed that the players had no respect for the coach Matt Parish and that they were up until 4AM in the morning doing whatever they felt like.
|Official Rankings as of December 2018|
|10||Papua New Guinea||15.78|
|*Change from July 2018|
The following tournaments is a list of notable international competitions that Samoa has been competing in since their existence in 1986.
A red box around the year indicates tournaments played within Samoa
|World Cup record|
|Four Nations record|
|2010||Failed to Qualify|
|Pacific Cup record|
- Sione Mata'utia and Tautau Moga were originally selected to play but withdrew due to injury. They were replaced by Tim Lafai and Frank Winterstein.
Results and fixturesEdit
- Below are the previous 5 matches of the national team. For all past match results, see the team's results page.
Notable players and coachesEdit
Samoa's kit consists of a blue jersey with usually a white V on the chest, paired with blue shorts and socks.
Since 2013, Samoa's kits are currently supplied by FI-TA. Former suppliers were SAS (2006-2013), SportM (1995-2000), Zeus (1992-1995) and Adidas (1990-1992).
- No Cookies | The Courier Mail
- NZ v Samoa the new State of Origin? - NRL.com
- "NRL grand final to be played at SCG in 2020, Samoan players slammed". 23 November 2017.
- "Rugby league World Cup rolling coverage from Barlow Park for Samoa v Scotland".
- "'Get everybody out and start again': Mason calls for Samoa overhaul after RLWC failure".
- "Matt Parish names Toa Samoa World Cup squad". rlwc2017.com. 6 October 2017.
- "Lafai, Winterstein into Samoa squad". NRL.com. 6 October 2017.