Rugby League World Cup Trophy

Samoa have the chance for revenge and to reach a World Cup final for the first time in their history when they meet England in the semi-finals on Saturday.

Toa Samoa take on the hosts at the Emirates, the home of Arsenal FC, in London.

They were embarrassed by England in the opening game of the tournament, but have bounced back with three consecutive victories and are now just one more win away from a historic final appearance.

Samoa will have to do it without hooker Danny Levi, after he was left out of the 21-man squad.

According to reports, Levi is absent due to personal reasons.

Fa’amanu Brown has been called into the squad and is now expected to start at hooker.

Spencer Leniu has also returned after missing the quarter-final victory over Tonga.

England have recalled Luke Thompson, with Matty Lees left out of the squad for Saturday.

The others to miss out are Ryan Hall, Joe Batchelor, Andy Ackers and Mikolaj Oledzki.

Marc Sneyd has been named in the squad but isn’t expected to play, with George Williams and Jack Welsby continuing in the halves.

England will enjoy raucous home support as they seek to emulate their 2017 return when they reached the final in Brisbane.

But they know they will face a much improved Samoan side then the one they battered on Tyneside.

Anthony Milford is in fine form, while Joseph Suuali’I has caught the eye at fullback.

The Pacific country has also had a boost with skipper Junior Paulo escaping a ban after he elbowed David Fifita in the throat in the quarter-final win over Tonga.

England: Sam Tomkins (captain), Tommy Makinson, Kallum Watkins, Herbie Farnworth, Jack Welsby, Tom Burgess, Michael McIlorum, Elliott Whitehead, John Bateman, Victor Radley, Dom Young, Morgan Knowles, Luke Thompson, Mike Cooper, Chris Hill, Mike McMeeken, Marc Sneyd, Kai Pearce-Paul.

Samoa: Fa’amanu Brown, Stephen Crichton, Chanel Harris-Tavita, Royce Hunt, Oregon Kaufusi, Tim Lafai, Spencer Leniu, Jarome Luai, Taylan May, Anthony Milford,

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John Davidson
John is a freelance journalist who has been writing about rugby league for the past decade. He covered the 2013 and 2017 World Cups, has appeared on TV and radio, and been published in The I-Paper, The Guardian, The Sun, The Mirror, League Express, Inside Sport magazine and Big League. He writes regularly for Forty-20 magazine, League Weekly and co-hosts the podcasts By the Balls and Six To Go.