Josh Papali’i commits to Samoa for World Cup with more big names set to join

Josh Papali'i

Canberra Raiders and Queensland Origin prop forward Josh Papali’i has confirmed his allegiance to Samoa for the upcoming World Cup.

Papali’i, 30, says more big name NRL players are set to join him for the tournament later this October.

The one-club man has previously represented Australia, winning 11 caps since his debut in 2013. He featured from the bench in their 2013 World Cup final victory over New Zealand at Old Trafford.

He went on to represent Samoa at the 2017 World Cup, featuring in all four matches.

Papali’i says he advised Australia head coach Mal Meninga of his intentions during the recent Origin series.

“As an older player, I feel like it’s a movement I just don’t want to be missing out on,” Papali’i said in Canberra on Wednesday.

“Just seeing the likes of a few of the Penrith boys coming out and I’ve had a few text messages from other players who haven’t come out yet saying they’ve put their hand up for Samoa.

“I have put my hand up to play for Samoa. Mal Meninga knows that and I’ve had a coffee with Mal as well to speak about what I’m planning to do…but that’s a long way from here, anything can happen in the next hopefully eight weeks.”

Josh Papali’i one of several big names set to represent Samoa

Samoa will be led by head coach Matt Parish for this year’s tournament. Richard Agar, Andrew Webster and Frank Pritchard will all be a part of the coaching staff later this year.

They will feature in the opening game of the World Cup against England. The tournament opens at Newcastle’s St James’ Park on October 15.

New South Wales Origin and Penrith Panthers stars Jarome Luai and Brian To’o will also represent Samoa this year, with more big names set to join them.

“I guess probably my last World Cup wasn’t the best.” Papali’i said. “I sort of treated it as a little vacation and probably drank a bit too often, and ate more than I should have,” he said.

“I’m looking to just play a bit of World Cup for the Motherland and represent my wife and my kids and especially my parents as well and just make Samoa proud.”

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About Josh McAllister 1674 Articles
Journalist. Joined the Love Rugby League team full time at the start of 2022 having been a freelance reporter for several years. Previously media manager for Swinton and Rochdale.

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