Pictured L-R: Uati Junior Fotu, George Smith and Arden McCarthy the only three New Zealanders in the Toa Samoa squad heading to Honolulu to play against the USA Tomahawks as part of Samoan Independence celebrations in Hawaii. Photo: Evotia Tamua
25 May 2013
If rugby is a known sport in the USA, then what of its lesser cousin, rugby league? A game normally played during the winter months in the southern hemisphere, three local rugby league players will soon have the opportunity to showcase their skills to an American audience.
"This is the first time USA has qualified to play the RLWC and they are also representing the Atlantic Zone, hence we foresee their preparation as strong and so as our local and NZ players as this is another opportunity for places in the final RLWC squad.
This is a rare opportunity and no doubt both teams will put on a good show as the highlight and climatic event of the Day.
League is a very fast game and also comprises of Football rules in terms of 6 tackles similar to 6 downs. However, same thirteen players from each team will be both defenders and attackers on the playing paddock and wud be a very entertaining match" says Rugby League Samoa's President Tagaloalagi Su'a Fa'afouina Su'a .
Auckland based Samoan league players, Arden McCarthy, Uati Junior Fotu and George Smith have been selected to tour with Toa Samoa to Hawaii. The June 1st test match is the main event at the Samoan Independence celebrations in Honolulu against the United States national rugby league team, the USA Tomahawks.
McCarthy is from Pt Chevalier Pirates, Fotu the Glenora Bears and Smith of the Otahuhu Leopards clubs have previously toured to Samoa with the Toa NZ residents squad in November 2012. Fotu and Smith were with the international squad in Sydney for the Pacific Test match against Tonga last month.
A day long celebration is planned featuring youth rugby, rugby 7s national championships, a Samoan concert with the Test match listed as the main attraction. A large crowd is expected as Samoans are the second largest group of Pacific Islanders living in Hawaii.
A total of 18 players and 5 officials will travel from Samoa to Hawaii from May 31st to June 5th with the generous support of Rugby League International Federation, American National Rugby League, Hawaii Tourism Authority, Rugby League Samoa, Aloha Stadium and Grand Pacific Events who have made this one-off Test match possible.
This Test match is part of the selection process for Toa Samoa heading into the Rugby League World Cup. October 27th will see Samoa play New Zealand in Warrington, England.
Toa Samoa vs USA Tomahawks
Saturday 1 June
Time: 7.30pm kick off
Venue: Hawaiian Airlines Field, Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Oahu
Tickets: USD $15 adults, USD $10 youth, Free - 5 years and under