Samoa and Tonga want to build further momentum after impressing in the Clash of the Pacific” international women’s rugby league double header in Auckland.
Fetū Samoa defended strongly in a credible 28-8 defeat by New Zealand but the agility and foot work of the Kiwi Ferns ultimately proved too strong at Mount Smart Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Coach Ross Uele believed the team would only get better with more time together.
“If we had another week under our belt it could have been a different story, but full credit to the Kiwis,” he said.
“They’re the benchmark and I’m really happy with the girls and what they did today.”
he result was a clear improvement on a 46-8 defeat in the same fixture last year and Fetū Samoa skipper, Masuisui Pauaraisa, was encouraged by their performance.
“If we look at last year and how we came back after 10 years, there was no Fetu Samoa there. Last year we got smashed by the Kiwi Ferns but this year, today’s game, it was a massive improvement,” she said.
“…knowing that we only had two training [sessions] together and the girls played their hearts out there today so I’m so proud of them and everyone should be so proud of all the girls.”
A former Kiwi Ferns international herself, Pauaraisa said the next step for Samoa is to work towards a spot in the 2025 Women’s Rugby League World Cup.
“There’s a lot of Samoan girls playing for other countries because there’s no pathway in league for our Samoan and our Pacific Island women’s league team so we need to be there and it all comes down to prep and the work behind the scenes as well.”
With his dad in the coaching box, Cronulla Sharks and Kiwis prop Braden Hamlin-Uele was doing his bit running water on the sideline, and backed Fetū Samoa’s push for higher honours.
“The women’s game is growing leaps and bounds since a few years ago so I don’t see why there shouldn’t be a Samoan women’s team [at the RLWC]. It would be great for the game, it would be great for the country and I think we deserve one.”
SOURCE – RADIO NZ