Samoa head coach Matt Parish has named his 19 man squad to play New Zealand at Halliwell Jones Stadium on Sunday.
Samoa’s Ben Roberts says he is honoured to represent his nation as the Toa squad look to gel quickly ahead of their opening Rugby League World Cup 2013 match against New Zealand at The Halliwell Jones Stadium, Warrington, on Sunday (6.00pm).
The players have only been preparing for two weeks in the build-up to RLWC2013, with a lot of the side playing together for the first time in their one warm-up match against the England Knights, in which they were defeated 52-16.
However Roberts, who is participating in his second World Cup, believes that the his team has already put that result behind them as they prepare to face the defending champions New Zealand.
“It is an honour and a privilege to be part of my second World Cup,” said Roberts. “I loved the first and it is just an honour to have the chance to represent my heritage and family back home
“We are not reading too much into the trial match result. It was only a warm-up so it was about trying out different combinations and letting the players get to know each other on the pitch.
“It was the first time a lot of us have played together and it was the only chance we had to find out about the team.
“We have only been preparing for two weeks but the boys are all getting along really well and we have come on leaps and bounds in that time.
”Samoa failed to make it out of the group stage at RLWC2008, and will be without Tim Lafai and Harrison Hansen, who miss out through suspension and injury respectively, but Roberts believes that anything can happen.
“New Zealand are arguably the best team in the competition, so we know we are in for a hard game,” said Roberts
“But the game seems to have reached a stage where most matches come down to whoever performs the best on the day. There are no foregone conclusions.
“We are not thinking about Papua New Guinea or France at the moment. Our attentions are firmly on New Zealand and that is how it needs to be. We have to take it one game at a time.”
Tickets for the New Zealand v Samoa RLWC2013 Group B game at The Halliwell Jones Stadium, Warrington, (6.00pm) are available to purchase from as little as £10 for adults and £5 for concessions. To buy, please either visit www.eticketing.co.uk/rlwc/ or call the 24-hour Ticket Hotline on 08448472013.
Kick-off time: 6pm Sunday 27th October (Local Time), Sydney (Australia – New South Wales) Monday, 28 October 2013 at 5:00:00 AM, Brisbane (Australia – Queensland) Monday, 28 October 2013 at 4:00:00 AM, Auckland (New Zealand) Monday, 28 October 2013 at 7:00:00 AM, Apia (Samoa) Monday, 28 October 2013 at 8:00:00 AM
Samoa Team to take on New Zealand
Leeson Ah Mau