‘Welcome to Samoa’: Sea of red and blue greets World Cup stars in wild airport scenes
Staff Writers from Fox Sports
Proud supporters, family and friends converged on Sydney Airport to welcome home their Samoan heroes after their historic run to a maiden rugby league World Cup final.
The Daily Telegraph reported the Samoan rugby league team were met by singing, clapping, traditional dancing, horns and cheering when a see of red and blue flags greeted their return from the UK on Tuesday morning.
Some fans waited for their heroes from as early as 5am in the morning to congratulate the players upon their return home.
They may have fallen short of the title in a 30-10 loss to the Kangaroos in the final, but you could have been forgiven for thinking they won, such was the reception they received at Sydney Airport.
Security from Sydney Airport ushered the players and coaching staff through a man made guard of honour as they were gifted handcrafted Samoan leis and embraced by members of the public and family and friends.
“Welcome to Samoa” fan Tunoa Teofilo Tauiliili joked to other travellers arriving in Sydney from Manchester.
The proud Samoan players took selfies with fans and mingled with supporters sporting Samoan jerseys and waving flags.
“Thanks for your support, we heard you guys all the way in England,” Samoan and Panthers five-eighth Jarome Luai said.
“It is so good to be home, thank you for the support, we will see you all soon,” Samoan prop Martin Taupau added.
Australia may have been crowned world champions for the 12th time, but the wave of support for Samoa after bouncing back from a 60-6 loss in their tournament opener to make the final was something to behold.
Proud Samoans from all over the world, including Hollywood mega star Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson publicly threw their support behind the team in the build-up to the final at Old Trafford.
They may have been unable to bring home the trophy this time, but they have started a rugby league revolution that could see a team from the Pacific Nations go all the way and win the World Cup in the future.