Toa Samoa’s homecoming is a Christmas present to the country

Photo: Anric Sitanilei/RNZ

Rugby League Samoa has confirmed Toa Samoa will be coming home for a welcome celebration on December 27.

Rugby League Samoa official Lauaki Fereti Tuilagi said the programme for the visit is yet to be finalised, but all the players and coaches will be there.

Questions had been asked if the Rugby League World Cup finalists would be brought home to meet fans and supporters.

Deputy Prime Minister Tuala Iosefo Ponifasio said, on arrival back from watching the team in England, that Cabinet would meet to discuss bringing the team home.

He told media that when he spoke to team members after their games, they all wanted to come to Samoa.

Against the odds, Toa Samoa reached the World Cup final in England, becoming the first Samoan rugby team, men’s or women’s, union or league, to achieve such a honour at the highest level.

After shocking Tonga and England to reach the final, Toa Samoa went down 30-10 to Australia at Old Trafford, Manchester with the crowd mostly supporting Toa Samoa.

However, their campaign had started badly with a 60-6 defeat in the opening group game against the host nation, when several players had not arrived due to playing in the NRL Grand Final.

Samoan players have pledged to keep playing for the Pacific nation and they may be joined by more stars after qualifying for the Rugby League World Cup final.

Late last month supporters, family and friends converged on Sydney Airport to welcome back their heroes.

The Daily Telegraph reported the team were met by singing, clapping, dancing, horns and cheering when a see of red and blue flags greeted their return from the UK.

Toa Samoa supporters rally for their national rugby league team

Fans gather in Apia before last month’s World Cup final Photo: RNZ / Anric Sitanilei

Source: RNZ