Samoa will play host to its first ever Test match on Saturday when the Pacific powerhouse goes head-to-head against a famous rival in Fiji in the capital Apia.
Not since the 2013 Rugby League World Cup have Samoa taken on Fiji, where the Bati recorded a 22-4 win, but Matt Parish’s side head into Saturday’s game on the back of good international results, with wins in their last two games against Mate Ma’a Tonga.
Mick Potter’s Fiji, on the other hand, will no doubt be keen to bounce back from a shock defeat during the year when they went down 24-22 to the Papua New Guinea Kumuls.
Rugby League Samoa Chairman Tagaloa Faafouina Su’a said that Saturday’s game was going to be a great day of celebrating the development of rugby league in Samoa.
“We have come a long way in 30 years,” he said.
“With the Pacific Outreach Program now embedded in our schools, and now a Test match in Samoa to look forward to, the game will continue to grow here.”
The match will be broadcast live on Fox Sports Viewers Choice (Channel 507) from 1:40pm AEDT on Saturday before being replaced on Fox Sports 3 at 7:30pm AEDT.
Date — Saturday, October 8, 2016
Time — 1:40pm AEDT (4:40pm local time)
Venue — Apia Park, Apia, Samoa
TV — Live via Fox Sports Viewers Choice (Ch.507), Delayed via Fox Sports 3 (7:30pm)
Live Stream — Live via Foxtel Go (subscription required)
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Kevin Naiqama (Fiji) — Fullback, 7th Test for Fiji
David Nofoaluma (Samoa) — Fullback, 1st Test for Samoa
Sauaso Sue (Samoa) — Lock, 9th Test for Samoa
Kevin Naiqama (Wests Tigers), Tyrone Phillips (Bulldogs), Waqa Blake (Panthers), Brayden Williame (Sea Eagles), Marcelo Montoya (Bulldogs), Sitveni Moceidreke (Bears), Henry Raiwalui (Magpies), Junior Roqica (Sharks), Apisai Koroisau (Sea Eagles), Kane Evans (Roosters), Viliame Kikau (Panthers), Eloni Vunakece (Roosters), Korbin Sims (Knights), Erevonu (Tui) Kamikamica (Storm), Petero Nakubuwai (Storm), Pio Seci (Fiji), James Storer (Port Kembla)
Bunty Afoa (Warriors), Leeson Ah Mau (Dragons), Erin Clark (Warriors), Raymond Faitala-Mariner (Bulldogs), James Gavet (Warriors), Pita Godinet (Sea Eagles), Sam Kasiano (Bulldogs), Tim Lafai (Dragons), Mason Lino (Warriors), Sam Lisone (Warriors), Ken Maumolo (Warriors), David Nofoaluma (Wests Tigers), Junior Paulo (Raiders), Kaysa Pritchard (Eels), Denny Solomona (Castleford), Sauaso Sue (Wests Tigers), Matthew Wright (Warriors)
2016 Pacific Test — Papua New Guinea 24 def. Fiji 22
2015 Pacific Test — Fiji 22 def. Papua New Guinea 10
2013 World Cup — Australia 64 def. Fiji 0
2013 World Cup — Fiji 22 def. Samoa 4
2013 World Cup — England 34 def. Fiji 12
2013 World Cup — Australia 34 def. Fiji 2
2013 World Cup — Fiji 32 def. Ireland 14
2016 Pacific Test —Samoa 18 def. Tonga 6
2015 Pacific Test — Samoa 18 def. Tonga 16
2014 Four Nations — Australia 44 def. Samoa 18
2014 Four Nations — New Zealand 14 def. Samoa 12
2014 Four Nations — England 32 def. Samoa 26
“We’re going to have the opportunity to have a look at some of the guys that probably sit just below some of the other players. We’ve had about 15 players pull out for various reasons so we’ve got a pretty deep squad and there’s an opportunity to have a look at some younger guys playing, as well as some regulars you’ve seen before,” — Mick Potter, Fiji Coach
“The team is full of young and exciting players and they’ve got plenty of good football in front of them. We’ve also had some experienced players who played in the last World Cup , the Four Nations tournament and the Pacific Test too. I have absolute faith in them. They are all good players and some of them are stars in the NRL. It’s going to be a physical game — that’s how all Pacific nations’ teams are. We have a very, very good team… but we are coming up against a very tough team from Fiji.” — Matt Parish, Samoa Coach