Paulo fuelled by Samoan pride

Canberra Raiders prop Junior Paulo is expecting an exciting clash when Samoa welcome Fiji to Apia for the Pacific Test this weekend.

Paulo, born in New Zealand and raised in Australia, has parents from the villages of Satuimalufilufi and Safotu in Samoa.

Like the whole team, he is fiercely proud of those roots as he prepares to don the blue jersey again.

“From the first time I put on the jersey there was a good introduction to the Toa Samoa rugby league team,” he told the Toa Samoa Facebook page.

“They said that when you put on the jersey, you are also carrying a nation on your shoulders behind you.

“That was the first step, I had to represent the nation of my parents’ birth, and it was something that I was happy to do too.

“There may not be the same financial rewards as with some international teams, but I’m definitely part of something special.

“We’re all grateful for the opportunity we have to put on the jersey.”

Rugby league has now been established in Samoa for 30 years, and Paulo is relishing the chance to actually play a home Test in the country.

“It’s the first ever Test here for the rugby league team,” he added.

“When we played Tonga earler in the year in Sydney, they said there was going to be a Test here.

“They’ve been pushing all year for it.

“Now that we’ve finally got the opportunity, hopefully we’ll get a good crowd out to support us.

“It’s definitely going to be a blockbusting show come Saturday.”

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