New Zealand vs Toa Samoa
Toll Stadium, Whangarei
Saturday 1 November, 4pm (NZ time), 2pm (AEDST)
The New Zealand Kiwis can go a long way to wrapping up a spot in the Four Nations Final this Saturday afternoon with a victory, however they will need to get over the top of Toa Samoa who have proven to be no easy beats on the international stage.
The match will be played at Toll Stadium in Whangarei, New Zealand, in the first Test match to be played at the ground, and it sure to be filled by vocal supporters of both the Kiwis and the Samoans.
Rabbitohs Members will be keeping an eye on the Kiwis’ number nine, our very own Issac Luke.
Luke has not played since the Rabbitohs’ preliminary final victory over the Sydney Roosters, missing out on what would have been two of the biggest wins of his career including the NRL Grand Final against the Bulldogs and New Zealand’s first Four Nations win over the Kangaroos last Saturday.
Luke led the Haka last weekend, in his polo shirt and bare feet, yet this week he will be in full battle garb, ready to take his frustrations out on the Samoan side.
The Samoans always seem to earn the tag of ‘surprise packets’ in tournaments such as these, playing passionate and electrifying football that almost saw them dethrone the English last Saturday in Brisbane.
The Samoans are fighting for their lives in this match, with a loss ruling them out of contention for a spot in the Final of the Four Nations.
Who to Watch
For the Kiwis, it’s our man Issac Luke. He will be heavily involved from the get-go and will be a key driver for any success the Kiwis over the rest of this tournament.
For the Samoans, it’s another dummy half in Pita Godinet. His entrance to last week’s match gave the Samoans great spark and he’s sure to do the same on Saturday afternoon away from home.
The Kiwis are going to have to watch out for complacency. They are favourites to knock over the Samoans and with the inclusion of players like Luke and Manu Vatuvei, they are in danger of thinking they just need to run out on the turf to register the win. They will need to play the full 80 minutes in this one as they needed to in last year’s World Cup, finally getting over the top of the Samoans, 42-24.
The Samoans are going to have to match the more experienced Kiwis at playing at the highest level if they are to win this one. They need to follow the lead of players such as David Fa’alogo, Josh McGuire and Mose Masoe and make sure they keep their heads up and their heads level for the whole 80 minutes. When Luke and the Kiwis kick it up a gear, they need to as well. They did a great job against the English, except for a couple of lapses of concentration. Do it for 80 and they are right in this one.
Kiwis by 12 with Issac Luke as man-of-the-match.
How to Watch
This match will be broadcast in Australia on GEM from 2pm Saturday AEDST. Check your local guides for full broadcast details.