Tui Samoa wants his USA team to look at their next match as “just another game” as the Tomahawks look to cause the biggest upset in Rugby League World Cup history when they take on the world’s most decorated nation, Australia, at The Glyndwr University Racecourse Ground, Wrexham, on Saturday (2.30pm).
Terry Matterson’s side is planning to prolong their extraordinary journey, which started with a Rugby League World Cup 2013 warm-up win over France before going on to beat the Cook Islands and Wales to reach the tournament’s Quarter-Finals, and Samoa finds it hard to believe how well they have performed.
“I am speechless that we are playing Australia in the Quarter-Final but we have to remember that it is just another game and we have to prepare for that,” said Samoa.
“The guys have put in a lot of hard work. We just came together as a team just a few weeks before the tournament kicked off.
“Some aren’t even getting paid for it, we are just in it for each other and our families back home.
“We came into the tournament with no-one expecting us to make it this far, and now we go on to play Australia, but we had a lot of trust in our team and each other.
“We have just taken everything game-by-game, day-by-day. Australia are the best team in the world, they are always a good team, but we have just got to go out and see what we can do.
“It has been an awesome experience. We have had a lot of support from the people in England and the whole thing has been fantastic.”
The only blotch on their record came when, having already qualified, Scotland defeated the Tomahawks at Salford to ultimately see the Bravehearts through to the Quarter-Finals as well, and Samoa is glad to have that game out of the way after a busy schedule, so that they can concentrate on the Kangaroos.
“The main focus was concentrating on Scotland first and worrying about Australia later on,” said Samoa. “It was important to get that out of the way and then move on to Australia the week after but for one reason or another we couldn’t get the win.
“We hadn’t thought about Australia all week – we worried about Scotland first – but now that we have done this job, we have been able to focus on Australia.
“The hope is that the sport will shoot off in America now. They can sit back at home and watch us performing on the big stage, so hopefully after the tournament there will be more Americans playing Rugby League.”
USA head coach Terry Matterson has named his 19 man squad to play Australia at Glyndwr University Racecourse Stadium on Saturday (13:00)
By Liam Williams