Samoa captain Junior Paulo has talked of his Samoan team-mates pride at representing their country and the desire they have to continue playing for the pacific nation.
After bringing together a star-studded squad filled with NRL winners, those players have no plans on stopping playing for their heritage.
“This is part of the reason why we chose to represent our heritage.” Paulo said.
“There are guys in the Australian team who are eligible to play for Samoa as well. But they made the decision to represent Australia and hats off to them because they’ve got their own reasons to represent them.
“It’s more than just a game for us. We’ve all got our families to look after and we’ve all got our goals that we want to achieve and fortunately for us, we’ve all got different motivations as to why we play rugby league.”
Junior Paulo wants to make Samoans around the world proud
Paulo has represented Samoa since 2016, making 15 appearances and scoring three tries. He was an ever-present in Samoa’s delayed 2021 campaign.
After Samoa’s maiden World Cup final appearance, they became only the fifth team to compete in the showpiece event, after England, Australia, New Zealand and France.
He said: “It doesn’t matter who we play for, it’s just about being passionate representing on the world stage. This is one of the biggest achievements that when I walk away from my career, I can be proud of.
“We are not only representing ourselves and our people, it’s about representing what Toa Samoa means to us.
“It’s tough competing with other sports that are big on the international scale but this campaign has definitely shown why rugby league is one of the superior sports.”