6 Oct 2017

Sport: Pritchard, Papalii headline Samoa World Cup squad

2:33 pm on 6 October 2017

Frank Pritchard will captain Toa Samoa at the Rugby League World Cup after being named in a 24-man squad which includes Queensland second rower Josh Papalii.

Papalii started in all three State of Origin matches this season and was originally selected to play for Australia in the ANZAC Test in May but was withdrawn due to suspension.

The 25-year-old Canberra forward has played nine tests for the Kangaroos but will now wear blue, joining fellow Toa newcomers Zane Musgrove, Jazz Tevaga and Jarome Luai.

Former Kangaroos rep Josh Papalii will represent Samoa at the 2017 Rugby League World Cup.

Former Kangaroos rep Josh Papalii will represent Samoa at the 2017 Rugby League World Cup. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The squad will be led by Pritchard, who returned to the NRL from the English Super League to join Parramatta this season.

The 33-year-old represented the Kiwis at the 2013 World Cup but has since accumulated five test caps for Samoa.

Samoa's Frank Pritchard is tackled by Sam Tomkins

Frank Pritchard will lead Samoa. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Joseph Paulo returns to the side for the first time since 2010 while Ben Roberts, Leeson Ah Mau, Peter and Sione Mata'utia, Sam Tagataese and Tautau Moga add further experience to the squad.

A former New Zealand half, Roberts has 12 test caps for Samoa and starred for Castleford in 2017, who take on Leeds in the Super League grand final this weekend.

Head coach Matt Parish said it was a strong, experienced squad with the desire to represent Samoa as evident in the disappointment of several NRL players who missed selection.

"Despite some players being unavailable due to injury we have a very strong squad that will do Samoa proud," he said.

"It's a tough group but these boys have lifted before when they have put on the Samoan jersey, and there is a lot of competitiveness to gain selection. I'm looking forward to seeing what they can do."

Toa Samoa rugby league coach Matt Parish

Toa Samoa rugby league coach Matt Parish Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Rugby League Samoa president Tagaloa Faafouina Su'a said team work would be the focus of the preparations for the squad leading up to the opening game against the Kiwis.

"Teamwork requires sacrifice upfront and putting the collective needs of the team ahead of any individual. There is no 'I' in team but there is 'I' in 'WIN'," he said.

The Samoa squad will assemble in Sydney next Tuesday and play a Country Rugby League side in Wagga on 13 October.

Along with New Zealand, Samoa will face Tonga and Scotland in the World Cup group stages.

Samoa squad:

Frank Pritchard (C), Bunty Afoa, Leeson Ah Mau, Faámanu Brown, Herman Ese'ese,Pita Godinet, Joey Leilua, Ricky Leutele, Sam Lisone, Jarmoine Luai, Suaia Matagi, Peter Mata'utia, Sione Mata'utia, Ken Maumalo, Tautau Moga, Zane Musgrave, Josh Papalii, Joseph Paulo, Junior Paulo, Ben Roberts, Sam Tagataese, Jazz Tevaga, Young Tonumaipea, Matthew Wright

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