Frank Pritchard captain) Eels), Bunty Afoa, Sam Lisone, Ken Maumalo, Jazz Tevaga Warriors), Leeson Ah Mau, Tim Lafai Dragons), Faamanu Brown, Ricky Leutele, Joseph Paulo, Sam Tagataese Sharks), Herman Ese’ese Broncos), Pita Godinet, Frank Winterstein, Matthew Wright Sea Eagles), Joseph Leilua, Josh Papalii, Junior Paulo Raiders), Jarome Luai Panthers), Suaia Matagi Eels), Peter Mata’utia Knights), Zane Musgrave Rabbitohs), Ben Roberts Castleford), Young Tonumaipea Storm)
Samoa have proven over the past decade or so that they can be a challenge for the top tier nations but despite pushing the likes and England of New Zealand, they have come up short.
A lot of that is down to the fact they don’t get to play together as much as the other nations but that imbalance has changed over the past few years and we are expecting much more form Samoa in this one.
Their mid-season test against England will have done them a lot of good for what is a tough group.
With only 3 of the 4 in the Group progressing and with Scotland already proving that they can be a match for anybody, Samoa know that they will be at it from the off.
This is a strong squad for Samoa despite the late withdrawal of Sione Mata’utia and Tautau Moga due to injury but in Frank Winterstein and Tim Lafai, they have brought in replacements with lots of experience at the highest level. In fact, the whole squad has lots of experience at Super Leaguer and NRL level with all players in full time environments.
The Samoa v Tonga match could be one of the stand outs of the Group stage and could be the match where either of the countries see there progression achieved or fall by the wayside.
Stars To Look Out For
Frank Pritchard, Josh Papalii, Junior Paulo, Joseph Paulo and Sam Tagataese are players capable of proving memorial moments, from big hits to incredible offloads but for us it is Ben Roberts of Castleford and Young Tonumaipea who have that x-factor about them.
Samoa have managed to name a strong squad with the majority of their big names making themselves available. They have a lot of big players, with their forward pack right up there with the best.
The lack of quality and depth in the halves and in creativity in general could make it hard for Samoa to break down the better countries.
We are going to predict a quarter final berth at least for Samoa.