12 Jul 2012

Sport: New look to Samoa residents rugby league team

11:33 am on 12 July 2012

The Samoa Residents rugby league team enters camp on Thursday ahead of Monday's first of two games against New South Wales Country.

The brief series is the first time a Samoan national side has played a competitive fixture since last year's tour to Fiji.

Residents coach Ponifasio Vasa says there are a number of new faces.

"I think half of the team that went to Fiji is not in this team anymore because around six of them are playing rugby union, in fifteens and sevens, and a lot of them are overseas."

The New South Wales team has faced criticism in Australia over the trip, which has been labelled a waste of time and expensive holiday for the team.

Rugby League Samoa's coaching and development officer Chris Newman admits the tour benefits local players more than the tourists but says the tour boosts the game in the world.

He says the only way for Samoan players to improve is to play teams from Australia and New Zealand, because the standard of football is much higher.