JAROME LUAI says Samoa always retained the belief that they could succeed at this World Cup – and he hopes that it can carry them all the way to glory.
Samoa will play in their first World Cup Final this Saturday at Old Trafford (kick-off 4pm) against holders Australia, after stunning England with a golden-point win at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday.
Luai starred in a thrilling semi-final, which saw Samoa knock out the host nation four weeks after losing 60-6 to them in the opening match of the tournament.
“Belief got us this far – not many people did believe in us, but within our group there is plenty of that,” said the Penrith Panthers halfback.
“We always believed we couple shake the Cup up. We’re here now – why not win the Cup?
“Belief is everything within this team. We knew what was going to happen coming into camp.
“Time was going to be on our side knowing that if we were better than the week before, we’d give ourselves a chance.
“Now we’re heading to a final in the World Cup. The belief never changed.”
Samoa are the first team outside of the traditional ‘big three’ of Australia, England/Great Britain and New Zealand to reach the World Cup Final in more than half a century.
Their captain Junior Paulo expressed how much Samoa’s run in the competition means to people from the Pacific islands.
“It’s enormous. We knew the impact we were going to have on Samoans, not only back home but around the world,” said Paulo.
“What we’ve been able to create, it doesn’t go unnoticed from us as a playing group. We see that every week on social media and we’re thankful for social media. It allows us to see the parades that are happening around the world.
“And it’s not only for Samoa but for the people of the Pacific, who are just happy to go out there and play footy.
“As easy as it sounds for us to go out there and play for 80 minutes, I think the impact it has on people is probably the biggest achievement for us, being able to create that.
“What we’ve done just to get where we are is kind of overwhelming, but the journey continues for us.”