RUGBY LEAGUE SAMOA
Rugby league in samoa
Western Samoa played their maiden Rugby League international at the 1986 Pacific Cup, defeating Tokelau 34-12 and giving birth to a passionate football team now known as Toa Samoa – literally translated as the team of ‘brave Samoan warriors’.
Since that wonderful first victory, Samoa has been at the forefront of Pacific Islands rugby league, both on and off the field, providing the heritage for hundreds of NRL and Super League players.
RL Samoa work to grow the game throughout the country via well developed programs and games at junior and school levels, through to the high performance pathway to the elite.
These successful programs are managed by the sport’s independent Board of Directors, including internationally respected and long time RL Samoa President Tagaloa Fa’afouina Su’a. The sport also receives huge support from the highest office in the country with Prime Minister of Samoa Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Neioti Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi the Patron of RL Samoa.
World Cups and beyond
Samoa made their Rugby League World Cup debut in the United Kingdom in 1995 and have played in every edition of International Rugby League’s premier showcase since.
In recent years Samoa automatically qualified for the 2013 World Cup. They surprised everyone almost upsetting tournament heavyweights New Zealand in their opener before beating Papua New Guinea and France to secure a spot in the quarterfinals, where they fell to Pacific rivals Fiji.
In 2014 Samoa was extremely competitive in the Four Nations against the game’s ‘big three’ -England, New Zealand and Australia as they advanced their world ranking into the top 4 in the world for the first time, before trumping fierce rivals Tonga in both the 2015 and 2016 Pacific Cup.
Samoa again qualified for the quarter final of the 2017 Rugby League World Cup where they were eventually beaten by defending champions and eventual winners, Australia.
As they prepare for another World Cup campaign in 2021, Samoa continue to build a strong resume, recording a fourth Pacific Test victory from their last five attempts with a win over PNG in 2019, the same year in which a young and enthusiastic Samoa surprised everyone by finishing third in the World 9s, narrowly defeated by eventual winners Australia in the final.
Domestically, competitions are held primarily around the national capital of Apia and involve open age years playing in a strong six team competition including the Vaitele Wests Tigers, Matniuel Laulii Lions, Letava Bulldogs, PSL Scopa, Marist Saints and Apia Barracudas.