Samoa could be on the verge of greatness when they take on England in the Rugby League World Cup Semi-Final on Saturday afternoon at Emirates Stadium, kick-off at 2.30 pm.
Forget three weeks ago when England dominated Samoa 60 – 6 in the Rugby League World Cup opener. Samoa improved as the tournament rolled on. This is, as they say in rugby league, a different ball game.
Samoa surprised everyone with their hard-fought 20 – 18 win over Tonga last weekend. With everything on the line going into Saturday’s clash with England, Samoa will have a few more surprises left up their sleeves.
Samoa already made history by playing in their first-ever Rugby League World Cup Semi-Final. With a star-studded lineup consisting of players from the two top Rugby League competitions in the world, Samoa have the talent on paper to match it with any rugby league team in the World.
They say belief can carry you a long way, especially going into a big game as the underdogs. The Samoans will have the weight of a nation on their shoulders, but will also have bucketloads of belief. They will be battle-hardened due to their hitout with Tonga. England, on the other hand, had a pretty easy ride coming into Saturday’s game. This soft run could be England’s Achilles heel
One area that will be key to Samoa’s success on Saturday afternoon is their ball handling. At times throughout the tournament and especially last week, they made it very hard for themselves with poor ball handling and average last-tackle options. If Anthony Milford can put on the game of his life and Joseph Suaali’I can put his hands on the ball at every opportunity, then just maybe another record-breaking entry will be written in the Rugby League history books this weekend.
Samoa Squad: Fa’amanu Brown, Stephen Crichton, Chanel Harris-Tavita, Royce Hunt, Oregon Kaufusi, Tim Lafai, Spencer Leniu, Jarome Luai, Taylan May, Anthony Milford, Josh Papali’I, Junior Paulo (captain), Ligi Sao, Ken Sio, Jaydn Su’a, Joseph Suaali’I, Martin Taupa’u, Brian To’o, Kelma Tuilagi.