Tonga and Samoa have both named strong squads for the Rugby League World Cup 2008, such is the quality in the sides that they will certainly give powerhouse nations Australia, New Zealand and England a big test at the end of the year.

Tongan coach Jim Dymock says this year’s World Cup will feature the strongest Tongan line-up ever assembled.

“There is so many more Polynesians in the game now with a lot more experience than when the last World Cup was played eight years ago,” Dymock said.

“No disrespect to Ireland, but the Samoa clash is the main game for us.

“We have a very good rivalry and, for both, winning this match is almost like winning the World Cup.

“Ireland will have a strong side too, though, and we won’t be taking them for granted. You can’t afford to do that with any team in the World Cup.”

Tonga will play New Zealand in Auckland on October 18 in preparation for the tournament, which begins on October 25 with England and Papua New Guinea clashing in Townsville and ends with the already sold-out Final at Suncorp Stadium on November 22.

2008 TONGA Rugby League World Cup Squad

Fraser ANDERSON (Sharks)
Louis ANDERSON (Warrington)
Vinnie ANDERSON (Warrington)
Andrew EMELIO (Bulldogs)
Richard FA’AOSO (Knights)
Albert HOPOATE (Newtown)
Sam HUIHAHAU (Rabbitohs)
Michael JENNINGS (Panthers)
Sinbad KALI (Storm)
Antonio KAUFUSI (Storm)
Brent KITE (Sea Eagles)
John KITE (Bulldogs)
Toshio LAISENI (Newtown)
Epalahame LAUAKI (NZ Warriors)
Tevita LEO-LATU (Wakefield)
Sioeli MAKAUI (Tigers)
Sikalamu MANU (Storm)
Willie MANU (Hull FC)
Manase MANUOKAFOA (Rabbitohs)
Willie MASON (Roosters)
Feleti MATEO (Eels)
Tevita METUISELA (Tigers)
Sam MOA (Sharks)
Eddie PAEA (Rabbitohs)
Lopini PAEA (Roosters)
Mickey PAEA (Roosters)
Fetuli TALANOA (Rabbitohs)
John TAMANIKA (Rabbitohs)
Esikeli TONGA (Titans)
Willie TONGA (Bulldogs)
Anthony TUPOU (Roosters)
Tame TUPOU (Bradford)
Etuate UAISELE (Parramatta)
Manu VATUVEI (NZ Warriors)
Cooper VUNA (Knights)
Tony WILLIAMS (Eels)

COACH: Jim Dymock

Samoa too have plenty of stars to pick from and will open their 2008 campaign with the much-anticipated clash with Tonga at Penrith’s CUA Stadium on October 31 and meet Ireland on November 5 at Parramatta Stadium.

All three squads were announced today at CUA Stadium and Vagana believes they will all be fielding their strongest sides ever in a World Cup.

“The standard of players available is outstanding,” he said. “We are very excited about playing in the World Cup and in particular our clash with Tonga.

“The rivalry between the two nations goes back hundreds of years when they were fighting wars and invading islands.

“This match will be the same … minus the spears and canoes.”

The 29-day 2008 RLWC tournament begins on October 25 with England and Papua New Guinea clashing in Townsville and ends with the already sold-out Final at Suncorp Stadium on November 22.

2008 SAMOA Rugby League World Cup Squad

Pat AH VAN (NZ Warriors)
George CARMONT (Wigan)
Sonny FA’I (NZ Warriors)
Dave FAIUMU (Huddersfield)
Harrison HANSEN (Wigan)
Masada IOSEFA (Panthers)
Ali LAUITITI (Leeds)
Mark LEAFA (Castleford)
Kylie LEULUA’I (Leeds)
Philip LEULUA’I (Salford)
Hutch MAIAVA (Panthers)
Reni MAITUA (Bulldogs)
Steve MATAI (Sea Eagles)
Ben MATULINO (NZ Warriors)
Wayne MCDADE (Auckland Vulcans)
Francis MELI (St Helens)
Joseph PAULO (Panthers)
Junior PAULO (Eels)
Frank PULETUA (Panthers)
Tony PULETUA (Panthers)
Jerome ROPATI (NZ Warriors)
Tangi ROPATI (East Tigers QLD)
Junior SA’U (Knights)
Smith SAMAU (Titans)
Lagi SETU (Dragons)
Terrence SEUSEU (Sharks)
Dave SOLOMONA (Bradford)
Malo SOLOMONA (NZ Warriors)
Wallace SOLOMONA (East Tigers QLD)
Chase STANLEY (Dragons)
Willie TALAU (St Helens)
Misi TAULAPAPA (Sharks)
Taulima TAUTAI (Eels)
Ben TE’O (Tigers)
Motu TONY (Hull)
Evarn TUIMAVAVE (NZ Warriors)
Matt UTAI (Bulldogs)
Nigel VAGANA ( C ) (Rabbitohs)

COACH: John Ackland

By ricky

11 thoughts on “Tonga, Samoa name strong Cup squads”
  1. You’ve got to be kidding…
    Mason, tupou and vatuvai playing for tonga!!!…. they would be shoe in’s for oz and kiwis!!!….
    what is the deal with eligibility???

  2. Should be a real bone cruncher!!! Much like the Samoa v Tonga match in the rugby union world cup match last year. Samoa looking to regain some pride!!!

  3. I think its good that the coaches named a strong squad with top NRL and Super League Players such and Mason, Tupou, Anderson Brothers for the Tongan Side and Lauititi, Meli, Solomona, Matai, Meaitua for the Samoan Side. The teams also have a good balanced of Experience and Rookie players, It makes it better for the sport to have more teams to have a chance to battle for the world cup instead of just having the kiwis, kangaroos and the england teams fight for it all the time.
    It’s Also a great thing for the Polynesian Players to give back to where they’re from…
    I hope the top players who are named play and represent there Island and when the time comes I hope we see and all island finals or at least one island team be there at the end.

  4. What is going on if Big Willie is playing for Tonga then is it possible for Sailor to play for Papua New Guinea like costigan and Bani

  5. Why are you non-polynesians very critical of the fact that eg. Mason, Kite, Tupou etc were named for Tonga??? If it weren’t for the Polynesians in Rugby League, the game would be very LAME… Who cares?… take all the Tongans & Samoans out of the Kangaroos & Kiwis….. Tonga, Samoa, Fiji, Aborigine, PNG would rule the League world. Dont hate…. Appreciate….

  6. Its all good samoa will have to step up once again..and also good luck to tonga as well big names are on your side this time…peace

  7. Damn, ya’ll just hating in here. It’s too bad America doesn’t braodcast these rugby games like they do Football here. We would love to see the Tonga vs Samoa at the end of this month.

    Mate Ma’a Tonga, all the way.!!


    farr tonga’s got a beast team
    cant wait to watch em play
    should be good with lots of big hit ups!

    its gonna be a polynesian final
    NO DOUBT!!

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