Ken Sio says he would love to see a Pacific of Origin series introduced, which would see Samoa take on their Pacific neighbours Tonga every year.
Alongside his Salford team-mate Tim Lafai, Sio received a late call-up to Samoa’s World Cup squad last year due to injuries in Matt Parish’s squad.
Sio didn’t feature in any of the games but he was incredibly proud to be part of the Samoan squad that became the first-ever tier two nation to reach a World Cup final.
“We were just happy to support our brothers but to get the call after the England game we were buzzing,” Sio told Love Rugby League. “We were like little kids in the car talking about how fun it was going to be.
“It was crazy, it was a good experience and we made our nation proud with what we did in the World Cup. That will hold a very special place in my heart.
“I’ve always been into my culture. My dad drives it into me and my mum as well. But just being there with my kids, letting them see how passionate our people are about the country, was special.
“I don’t know if you saw the reaction back home but it was crazy. Small wins are what we thrive off and we make sure we carry it with us. We carry our family names with us every day.”
The epic Siva Tau v Sipi Tau
Samoa came up against their Pacific neighbours Tonga in an epic quarter-final of the World Cup, which saw a spine-tingling Siva Tau v Sipi Tau pre-match ritual.
“The people that got to go that game and watch how intense it was and how quiet the stadium was, it was one of those experiences that you have to get to just to watch,” Sio said.
“It’s a credit to Tonga, they are the ones who started it first and hopefully we’ll follow now and as the years go on it gets better and better.”
— Love Rugby League (@loverugbyleague) November 6, 2022
Pacific of Origin
And Sio says he would love to see more games between the Pacific islands on a regular basis, pitching the idea of a Pacific of Origin-type series.
“It would be awesome to be honest,” he said.
“It’d be cool if there was like a mini Origin series between Tonga and Samoa – three games with Fiji and someone else, that’d be cool as. It’d be awesome to see.”
From a Tongan perspective
St Helens powerhouse Konrad Hurrell says representing his beloved Tonga is one of the highlights of his career.
“Up until last year, the proudest moment of my career is playing for Tonga,” Hurrell told Love Rugby League.
“Winning the Super League last year was my main goal – to get a winners ring before I retire. But still the proudest moment for me is playing for Tonga, and wearing that red jersey.
“At the beginning of last year, what the club and town of St Helens did helping out the island with what happened with the volcano was great.
“I know we came up short again Samoa at the World Cup but I was still proud of what the boys did.”