Samoa Rugby League local 2020

Photo Credit: Samoa Rugby League

While the global pandemic has put a big dampener on rugby league activities in many parts of the world, that is not the case in Samoa.

Despite what has been going on in zones such as North and South America, where domestic seasons have been suspended or cancelled, it’s full steam ahead on the Pacific island nation.

The local competitions kicked off in late August as scheduled.

“Samoa is one of the luckiest nations to still be COVID-19 free. Now we are on our RECOV-20 League season (Recovery 20). Praise the Lord,” Rugby League Samoa chairman Faafouina Sua told Rugby League Planet.

He says play is underway right across the board in different age groups.

“Eight seniors and four Under-20s,” said Sua. “After the six weeks of competition, we will then have 4 Fantastic teams and perhaps an Island of Origin afterwards and a 9s comp 1 dayer around Christmas.

“This will all depend on our partners and sponsors.”

In terms of games for the national team Toa Samoa (Samoan Warriors), the coronavirus has thrown a major spanner in the works with international rugby league pretty much dead in the water in 2020.

“The Emerging World 9s, due to held here in Samoa, I believe has been deferred due to the uncertainty,” added Sua. “The Oceania Cup has been cancelled, so nothing is certain until it’s certain.”

However, Sua remains upbeat about 2021 and beyond, particularly in regard to next year’s Rugby League World Cup (RLWC).

“Hopefully, the pandemic will stop but all has been parked until the world is safe,” he said. “RLWC2021 planning with the UK is still in progress.”

As for the makeup of the Toa Samoa national team for potential internationals next year, Sua said that will be in the hands of the national coaching staff.

The Samoans have an all-time win-loss record of 31-2-38 dating back to when they were known as Western Samoa.

Toa Samoa made the RLWC quarterfinals in 2013 and again in 2017.

Their best overall winning records are against the Cook Islands (4-2), France (3-1) and Papua New Guinea (2-0), while they have split their results against the US (1-1) and Scotland (1-1).

Brian is a strong and effective communicator with more than 30 years’ experience in broadcast and electronic media. He has been writing for Rugby League Planet since 2012 and is frequently the first reporter to break news stories about the sport. He has been our North American correspondent reporting on news in the US, Canada and Jamaica covering everything from league standings to strategy analysis to breaking news on key trades to editorials and colourful features on athletes. He is now writing about rugby league on a broader scale to cover developments around the globe. An accomplished storyteller, Brian started his career in Australian radio, before moving to the United States. He is an experienced podcast host and producer and is also a successful TV commentator having done play-by-play and analysis for ESPN, FOX Sports and the Rugby League European Federation (RLEF) among others. Brian has his own YouTube channel @brianlowe5567 where he posts his interviews for Rugby League Planet. Be sure to check it out and subscribe.