Samoan Head Coach Matt Parish believes his side are in for a big game against England this weekend and they are the underdogs going into the fixture.
This opinion isn’t shared by many in the Rugby League community with Samoa seen as the favourites by most with the bookies also favouring the Pacific Islanders.
With many of this seasons Origin starts choosing to represent Samoa they now boast one of the most complete squads at this tournament. Players such as captain Junior Paulo and Josh Papalii are perennial Origin starters in the front row and are joined in the squad with Penrith trio Jarome Luai, Stephen Crichton and Brian To’o who have been key to the NRL’s best squad for the past three seasons.
Despite all of this Parish still doesn’t see them as favourites in their opening fixture against England and said as much as the Rugby League World Cup launch event.
“The upset is Samoa beating England, it’s never happened before,” Parish exclaimed. “It doesn’t worry us if we are favourites.
“We are under done for the first match, England played a trial match while our guys was all on a plane.
“We only had our first training sessions this morning, we’ll have two more sessions this week then we have to play an opening World Cup game. I’ve got no doubt we’ll give our best performance.”
For Parish it appears the lack of preparation could work against the Samoans in Newcastle.
He was also very aware of things said by the England players in the build up to this hotly anticipated opener.
“A tough challenge, I’ve read several articles where they are going to come out and bash us,” Parish continued. “It’s going to be tough and very physical in the middle a very physical game.
“We want to play footy we don’t want to bash anyone.
“They’re a proud nation they’ve got a coach who has won many championships over here and their captain who is one of the world’s best players.”