Samoa’s semi-final hero Stephen Crichton has described his side’s support back home as “crazy” during their World Cup rise.
The Penrith Panthers centre kicked the golden-point winner over England at the Emirates Stadium to secure a history-making spot in the final at Old Trafford against Australia.
Matt Parish’s Samoa are the first tier two side to make a World Cup final, with videos of support going global on social media back home on the pacific island with a population of just 200,000.
And that support hasn’t been lost on the players, with a huge interest generated world-wide.
“It’s gone global,” Crichton said on his golden point winner.
“It means a lot to do that not just for myself but for the boys in the squad, and for our motherland as well and the people of Samoa.
“We’ve seen all the videos that have come out from it and just how proud they are. It’s been pretty hectic.
“I think flags have been selling out everywhere! It’s been pretty crazy that it’s gone worldwide. I’m proud of the boys.”
Team-mate and back-rower Jaydn Su’a struggled to put into words just how big of an achievement it would be if Samoa could defeat the odds once again and claim the World Cup title over favourites Australia, who have won it 11 times.
“It would be huge,” the St George Illawarra player said. “I can’t even say how big it would be. We are very proud people. Just to see the support we have had via social media, it’s very overwhelming and emotional.”
Stephen Crichton on the leadership of Jarome Luai
Influential half-back Jarome Luai has won three man-of-the-match awards at this tournament, including the England game last Saturday.
The Penrith star will be looking to help his side to more success at Old Trafford, with club team-mate Crichton praising his leadership this tournament.
“He’s loving his footy and he’s having fun with it,” Crichton said on Luai.
“His leadership has come a long way. He’s a massive leader for Penrith, but he’s really stood up for this Samoa camp as well as other leaders that we have. He’s stepped up and has been good for us.”