Poching devastated by Samoan tsunami

Samoan Rugby League Head Coach Willie Poching has said he was devastated to see the scenes of destruction following the tsunami that hit Samoa and American Samoa over night.

Poching, who is also an assistant coach with engage Super League Champions Leeds Rhinos, learnt of the tragedy on Tuesday night as news first broke of the earthquake in the Pacific.

Commenting on the news Poching said, “This is tragic news for the people of Samoa and American Samoa. If you look at a map of the world, Samoa is a dot in the Pacific and the scenes of devastation are horrendous to watch on the news.

“My parents have a house in Samoa but thankfully are in New Zealand at the moment. I have been in touch with my sister who has been able to contact people on the island via mobile phones but all the land lines appear to be out of action. Thankfully my family appear to be safe but your heart goes out to those who have loved lost ones. They are in our thoughts and prayers.

“We have a large Samoan community here in West Yorkshire and we are all in the same situation, trying to get news from home. We will pull together and we will do what we can to help Samoa rebuild.

“The country relies on tourism and that looks to be one of the areas worst hit. It will take time and money to get the country back on its feet but we are a proud nation and we will come back from this,” added Poching.

Poching has been in touch with Leeds Rhinos players Kylie Leuluai and Ali Lauitiiti, who both have family in Samoa, regarding the tragedy and will travel to the Australia in two weeks time to begin preparations for the Pacific Cup with the Samoan national team. He added, “We are meeting up in Cairns in a fortnight to prepare for our play off against the Cook Islands. The tragedy will of course be at the forefront of everyone’s mind but hopefully we can give the Samoan people something to smile about with our performances after this terrible time.”

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