When England met Samoa in the Rugby League World Cup opener, England were seen as the underdogs with NRL pundit Phil Gould even saying “England can’t beat Samoa.”
England did of course beat them, they ploughed through them with a 60-6 win over Matt Parish’s team and now come into the semi-finals as favourites as the two teams prepare to meet at Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium.
But how do the Australian press foresee this rematch after pegging Samoa as overwhelming favourites the first time they met?
Fox League seemed to warn England that this time it will be different as a knockout clash but feated for Samoa as they worry over two bans: “Samoa have upset Tonga with a pulsating 20-18 victory and will now face England for a spot in the World Cup final.
“England humiliated Samoa 60-6 in the tournament opener but it’ll be a knockout clash when they meet at the Emirates Stadium.
“Samoa, meanwhile, could be without their skipper Junior Paulo and fullback Joseph Suaalii for their clash with England after the duo were put on report.”
Zerotackle meanwhile claimed it would be a different Samoa side taking on Shaun Wane’s England this time: “Samoa advance to a London semi-final next Sunday morning AEDT against a rampant England side that’d defeated the nation 60-6 in the tournament’s opener, however it’ll be a different side that faces Shaun Wane’s side next week.”
Like Fox League, Sydney Morning Herald noted that the loss of bans to stars could be telling: “Samoan stars Joseph Suaalii and Junior Paulo are facing potential bans for next week’s Rugby League World Cup semi-final after being placed on report in their side’s historic victory over Tonga.”
Meanwhile, Canberra Times described Samoa as the new superpower in rugby league believing they will have something to prove following that opening day defeat: “The spectre of England’s 60-6 win against Samoa in the tournament’s opening game has followed Parish’s star-studded side throughout their campaign.
“After dethroning Tonga and becoming Pacific rugby league’s new superpower, Samoa will aim to right the wrongs of their opening World Cup loss and avenge England in the semi-finals.”