England face second Samoa clash in vital Emirates Semi-Final


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Shaun Wane’s England side head to the capital to face a Samoa side buoyed by a historic Quarter-Final win over Tonga. 

Following the hosts’ opening day thrashing of Toa Samoa at St.James’ Park, England will expect a much tougher test facing them in the semi-final as the Rugby League World Cup heads south to the home of Premier League leaders Arsenal. 

A flawless group stage saw England thrash Samoa in the North East before a tough first 40 minutes was avenged as the hosts beat France by 42-18. After this, England proceeded to hand tournament debutants a remarkable 94-4 defeat, which slots in as the second biggest win in Rugby League World Cup history behind Australia’s triple-figure win over Russia in 2000 (110-4). Following this, over 23,000 watched England dismantle Papua New Guinea in the Quarter-Final at the DW Stadium to book Wane’s side a place in the Semi-Final for the fifth successive tournament. 

Meanwhile, Samoa bounced back from their opening-day loss to give Greece a trouncing of their own, before subsequently beating France in a more convincing fashion than the hosts managed (62-4). 

This led to an almighty pacific island clash with Tonga for a place in the semi-final, where Samoa were considered underdogs. 

First-half tries from Jadyn Su’a and Jarome Luai were all but cancelled out were it not for a missed kick by Isaiya Katoa. 

Brian To’o was then gifted a try after a missed catch from Tonga in their own in-goal area, and despite a late try from Sione Katoa, the missed conversion from his brother in the first half proved to be crucial, and Samoa secured a historic win that was met with raptures amongst the players and staff. 

Now the two sides face a rematch of the highest calibre, with plenty of pressure on the hosts as strong favourites to put the Samoans to the sword as they did in the group stage.

However, as New Zealand found out against Fiji in the quarter-finals, sometimes it is impossible to prepare yourself for a run-in with one of the pacific island nations, and Samoa will have nothing to lose as they look to upset the odds and reach the final for the very first time.

As always, Toa are likely to bring physicality and intensity to the dance, whilst England will hope that their brand of Rugby will be too much for Samoa to handle.

Team News – England: 

England name just one change to the squad that lined up against the Kumuls last Saturday, with Luke Thompson coming in for Matty Lees in the front row. 

Samoa on the other hand name two changes, one of which includes the enforced omission of Danny Levi. 

Levi spent 2022 at the Huddersfield Giants and is a key figure in the Samoan squad. The causation of his omission remains undisclosed, and he will be replaced by Featherstone’s Fa’amanu Brown. Spencer Leniu also makes a return to the squad. 

With a crowd of up to 60,000 possible, it is likely the tournament high attendance set by none other than England and Samoa could be broken as the two sides battle it out for the right to play either Australia or New Zealand in the Grand Final. 

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