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15 Dec 2017 2:20
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  •   Home > News > Sports > Rugby League

    Ex-Roo Papalii headlines Samoa RLWC squad

    Josh Papalii, Joey Leilua and Joseph Paulo headline Samoa's 24-man squad for the upcoming rugby league World Cup.

    - article from

    Former Kangaroos star Josh Papalii will make his international debut for Samoa after being selected in their 24-man squad on Friday for the upcoming rugby league World Cup.

    Eighteen months after representing Australia in a mid-year Test, Papalii will spearhead a Samoan line-up also featuring Canberra teammates Joey Leilua and Junior Paulo.

    Papalii was set to add to his nine Tests for the Kangaroos after getting picked to play in their mid-year Test against the Kiwis, but was axed after being convicted for drink driving.

    It was believed the Raiders star twice reported himself to police for driving while intoxicated.

    Former New Zealand second-rower Frank Pritchard will captain a side coached by Matt Parish.

    Brisbane dynamo Anthony Milford is a notable absentee from the team that played in the mid-year Test loss to England due to injury, while Josh McGuire opted to play for Australia.

    Ben Roberts, who spent nine seasons in the NRL across stints at Canterbury, Parramatta and Melbourne, will likely be the halfback following an outstanding season at Castleford.

    The Tigers take on Leeds in the Super League grand final this weekend.

    Joseph Paulo returns to the team after captaining USA in the 2013 World Cup.

    However it is the selection of the 25-year-old Papalii that is a huge boost for Parish's line-up, four years after being part of the Kangaroos' World Cup triumph over New Zealand.

    Parish admitted they are in a challenging group that includes the Kiwis, Scotland and a Tonga outfit boosted by the shock inclusions of Jason Taumalolo and Andrew Fifita on Thursday.

    "Despite some players being unavailable due to injury we have a very strong squad that will do Samoa proud," Parish said on Friday.

    "It's a tough group but these boys have lifted before when they have put on the Samoan jersey, and there is a lot of competitiveness to gain selection.

    "I'm looking forward to seeing what they can do."

    Samoa have a warm-up against a Country Rugby League select side in Wagga Wagga next Friday before opening their World Cup campaign against Scotland in Cairns on October 29.

    SAMOA SQUAD: Frank Pritchard (capt), Bunty Afoa, Leeson Ah Mau, Fa'amanu Brown, Herman Ese'ese, Pita Godinet, Joey Leilua, Ricky Leutele, Sam Lisone, Jarome Luai, Suaia Matagi, Peter Mata'utia, Sione Mata'utia, Ken Maumalo, Tautau Moga, Zane Musgrove, Josh Papalii, Joseph Paulo, Junior Paulo, Ben Roberts, Sam Tagataese, Jazz Tevaga, Young Tonumaipea, Matthew Wright.


    © 2017 NZN, NZCity

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