16 Oct 2010

Samoa focused despite disruptions to rugby league team

1:52 pm on 16 October 2010

A couple of late withdrawals have hampered Samoa's build up to tonight's rugby league international against New Zealand in Auckland.

But the team's head coach, Steve Price, is confident will walk off the field with no regrets.

Daniel Vidot pulled out of the team in order to preserve his ability to play State of Origin and, potentially, for Australia.

Canterbury Bulldogs halfback Ben Roberts was another late scratching after succumbing to injury, and has been replaced by young Auckland Vulcans playmaker Pita Godinet.

Samoa coach, Steve Price, says Godinet has trained well throughout the week and despite the disruptions the team is just excited to get on the field.

"The most important thing is Samoa playing first ever historic test match against the Kiwis and that's very exciting for myself and also speaking to ex Samoa rugby league players like Nigel Vagana and Monty Betham, it's just exciting times to up against New Zealand."

The Samoa rugby league coach, Steve Price - the match kicks off at 7-thirty.

Meanwhile, the legendary Samoan Rugby League family the Ropati's have put up an award for the Most Valuable Toa Samoa Player against the Kiwis tonight.

This award will be given for the first time at the conclusion of the match and it is planned to continue for future internationals.

Former Kiwi and Samoa Rugby League player, Tea Ropati, says he thought it would be great as their family are quite connected to Rugby League.

Tea first donned the Kiwi jersey in 1986 with his final year of playing in 1997.

He represented Samoa in the first ever match in 1988 and ran on the field for Samoa in the Rugby League World Cup in 1995.

The Ropati family have a strong sporting background.

Tea's brother's Joseph and Iva Ropati also played for the Kiwis while brothers Peter, Feu and John represented Auckland and New Zealand rep teams.

Younger brother Romi represented Manu Samoa at the last Rugby Union World Cup.