Toa Samoa

Bati thrash Toa Samoa to boost promotion hopes

There were signs of disaster from the first touch for Samoa, with a knock-on giving Fiji the advantage just 20 metres from their line.

Capitalising on the early opportunity and with a wrap-around pass from Kane Evans, hooker Joe Lovodua found the ball in his hands to storm under the posts and put first points on the board for the Bati.

The conversion was successful to give them an early 6-0 lead.

Rugby league triple-header all about respect

Fiji will take on Samoa in the first match up of the day, before the Kiwis meet the touring Great Britain Lions as both sides look to recover from significant losses last week.

The third test of the night will see a resurgent Tonga Invitational XIII face off against the world champion Australia.

The Kau To'a say they are ready to take on the Kangaroos with both sides delivering impressive performances last weekend.

Tonga produced a massive defensive effort to beat Great Britain for the first time while Australia convincingly beat New Zealand.

Afoa eyes Kiwis switch for Tonga showdown

While Afoa was at pains to state he cherishes each of his six Test caps for Samoa, he confirmed to NRL.com that he won't be following the likes of Jason Taumalolo and Andrew Fifita in opting to remain with an island nation over a tier one team.

"I would take a Kiwi jersey with both hands," Afoa said.

"I have played for Samoa and am always proud to do that, but if the opportunity comes to play for NZ then they will get all my efforts.

"It's a great opportunity that a lot of kids dream about and work their butts off to get."

Samoa out to make amends and plan for the future

Despite reaching the quarter finals after salvaging a 14-all draw against Scotland in the group stages of the tournament, the winless Samoan side were embroiled with backlash after a string of disappointing performances and talk their talk of players – including Leilua – returning to their NRL clubs in the pre-season overweight.

One of the more experienced leaders in the line-up, Leilua told NRL.com coach Matt Parish identified the fixture as a chance to build depth for the nation.

"They're the future for our team," Leilua said.

Milford chooses Samoa over Origin as four players defect to NZ

The 23 year old played in Queensland's Game One State of Origin defeat against New South Wales earlier this month but will be unavailable for Game Two on Sunday after opting to represent Samoa.

Milford played in Samoa's Pacific Test defeat by England last May but missed the World Cup due to a shoulder injury.

Manly winger Jorge Taufua is set to make his debut for Samoa, having previously represented Tonga, however four former Toa Samoa internationals have switched allegiance to New Zealand ahead of the Kiwis controversial test against England in Denver this weekend.

Tonga to name formidable team for Test against Samoa

Fonua-Blake, who played for Tonga in last year’s corresponding Test against Fiji, has decided to again align himself to the Mate Ma’a after representing the Kiwis at the World Cup.

The Manly prop will join a powerful Tongan pack led by Taumalolo and Fifita, which is set to also include the likes of Tevita Pangai jnr, Joe Ofahengaue, Siosiua Taukieaho, Peni Terepo and Manu Ma’u.

Hopoate, Konrad Hurrell, David Fusitu’a Solomone Kata, Mahe Fonua, Daniel Tupou and the Jennings brothers, Michael, Robert and George are in contention for places in the outside backs.

Toa Samoa embracing underdog tag against Tonga

Samoa were outclassed 38-8 by New Zealand in their opening match last weekend, while Mate Ma'a Tonga thrashed Scotland 50-4.

The Kingdom are being talked about as a tournament dark horse after Jason Taumalolo and Andrew Fifita switched allegiance to represent their heritage.

Toa Samoa prop Herman Ese'ese said they are happy to stay under the radar.

Lafai, Winterstein into Samoa squad

After announcing their 24-man squad in Samoa on Friday morning, officials were given the belated news that Newcastle Knights skipper Mata’utia and Knights-bound Brisbane centre Moga have been ruled unfit.

Forget the big three, it's the big six or seven

"I don't think it is the big three any more," Parish said. 

"I actually think it is the big six or the big seven because they have changed the international eligibility rules for players and I think the gap between the third and fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh nations isn't that great now."

While Scotland secured a draw with New Zealand during last year's Four Nations and Italy shocked England in a warm-up match before the 2013 World Cup, no tier two country has beaten one of the big three in a Test or major tournament for more than 35 years.

Anticipation building in Apia for Toa v Bati test

Toa Samoa have called up six new caps: New Zealand Warriors quartet Mason Lino, Ken Maumalo, James Gavet and Bunty Afoa, Castleford Tigers back Denny Solomona and David Nofoaluma from Wests Tigers.

Meanwhile, Sam Lisone and Tim Lafai are back in blue after last representing the Toa in 2015 and 2014 respectively.

New Zealand Warriors quartet Mason Lino, Ken Maumalo, James Gavet and Bunty Afoa have all been selected in the Toa Samoa squad for the first time.

Rugby League Samoa President Tagaloa Faafouina Su'a said interest in the match was high.