tmedia
Skip to main content
Main content
Homepage

RLWC Preview: Samoa vs. Tonga

Dan Talintyre

SAM v TON

Two Pacific powerhouses will go head-to-head this Saturday night as another installment of the Samoa-Tonga rivalry plays out at Waikato Stadium in Hamilton.

While the two have a rich history and have often been seen as equals, this year’s World Cup campaign perhaps hints at a shifting of power between the two. Tonga were simply superb against Scotland in their opening game — chalking up a big victory — while Samoa struggled to get anything going against New Zealand and were comprehensively beaten in the end.

With Jason Taumalolo running riot through the middle of the field and the likes of Michael Jennings capitalising out wide, Kristian Woolf’s side will deservedly head in to the weekend’s game as favourites, with question marks surrounding Samoa’s halves.

Joseph Paulo and Ben Roberts don’t look like the greatest pairing on paper, but the biggest question mark will be around their defence. Kodi Nikorima in particular exposed Samoa on the edges, and Matt Parrish’s men will need to tighten up out wide if they’re any chance in this one.

They certainly have enough firepower to at least match Tonga in the middle of the field; the question will be whether their wide men can do the same in a game that’s sure to provide an enthralling atmosphere on and off the field.
 

Group B: Samoa vs. Tonga

MATCH DETAILS

Date — Saturday, November 4, 2017

Time — 5:30pm AEDT

Venue — Waikato Stadium, Hamilton (NZ)

 

LIVE STREAM AND TV INFORMATION

Live Stream — Channel 7’s https://7live.com.au/ (Australia only)

TV — Click here for a full country-by-country list of TV broadcasts.

 

TEAM NEWS

Samoa

 

Tonga

Young Tonumapiea

1

Will Hopoate

Ricky Leutele

2

Daniel Tupou

Tim Lafai

3

Michael Jennings

Joseph Leilua

4

Solomone Kata

Ken Maumalo

5

David Fusitu’a

Joseph Paulo

6

Tuimoala Lolohea

Ben Roberts

7

Ata Hingano

Junior Paulo

8

Andrew Fifita

Jazz Tevaga

9

Siliva Havili

Herman Ese’ese

10

Sio Siua Taukeiaho

Josh Papalii

11

Manu Ma’u

Frank Pritchard (capt.)

12

Sika Manu (capt.)

Leeson Ah Mau

13

Jason Taumalolo

Fa’amanu Brown

14

Sione Katoa

Zane Musgrove

15

Sam Moa

Sam Lisone

16

Peni Terepo

Bunty Afoa

17

Ben Murdoch-Masila

Reserves (SAM) — Sam Tagataese, Frank Winterstein, Jarome Luai, Matthew Wright

Reserves (TON) — Ukama Ta’ai, Manu Vatuvei, Konrad Hurrell, Samisoni Langi

 

RLWC STANDINGS — POOL B

 

Played

Won

Lost

F/A

Points

Tonga

1

1

0

+46

2

New Zealand

1

1

0

+30

2

Samoa

1

0

1

-30

0

Scotland

1

0

1

-46

0

 

HISTORY

Tonga and Samoa have squared off five times on the international stage, with Samoa holding a slender 3-2 advantage in those games. However, Samoa have won four of the last five games against their opponents — the most recent of which being an 18-6 victory at Parramatta last year as part of the mid-year Pacific Doubleheader. Interestingly, Ben Cummins will be the referee for this Saturday’s match, as he was in the past two matches between these two nations. Both of those were won by Samoa.

 

PLAYER TO FOLLOW — Ata Hingano, Tonga

We’ve touched on it already but the touch of class out wide could be the difference for Tonga this Saturday, and it’ll be on both Ata Hingano to Tui Lolohea to make sure they control the game and bring those two facets of the game together. Hingano was superb against Scotland in the opening game, allowing Lolohea to play his more natural game running the ball, and if they combine again well this week, it’s hard to see Samoa matching what Tonga produce in attack for the full 80 minutes.

 

PREDICTION

With the size and power both teams have in the middle of the field, it’s likely we’ll see a fairly low-scoring and gritty affair on Saturday as the Pacific rivals go head-to-head. The question will be, though, as to where Samoa gets their points from. They only managed the two late tries in each half against the Kiwis and with the going likely to be tough again here, we’ll go with Tonga to have a little bit more in attack and on the scoreboard. Tonga by 12.

Grab your Wests Tigers Membership today and join us #OnTheBus in season 2018!