Samoa captain and coach hail Warrington crowd

Samoa coach Matt Parish and stand-in captain Sia Soliola hailed the near sell-out crowd at the Halliwell Jones Stadium in Warrington on Sunday.

With Samoa based in the town for the duration of the tournament, the 14,965 crowd got right behind the team as they attempted an unlikely comeback in a breathless second half against New Zealand.

Trailing 36-4 10 minutes after half time, Samoa dug in and reduced arrears to 36-24, before Manu Vatuvei‘s hat-trick try ended any slim hopes of a sensational turnaround.

Parish said: “The Warrington crowd was fantastic. To hear that crowd sing Samoa was amazing. I know I was touched by it, and I’m sure the boys were too.”

St Helens-bound Mose Masoe, who led the Samoan pack superbly alongside Mark Taufua off the bench, will surely not get such a warm reception on his first club visit to the ground.

His new team-mate Soliola, standing in for skipper Harrison Hansen, also led from the front.

He said: “Playing over here, I know how passionate the rugby league fans are. My heart goes out to Warrington, to that crowd and the way they got behind us.

“Like Matt said, it was touching. I can’t explain it, it was unreal.”

In what was a memorable second half, Samoa had a try initially flash up as a no try from the video referee, and Sonny Bill Williams was left embarrassed when he slipped over the dead ball line for what looked a certain try.

Soliola added: “You don’t see that often, especially not from a player like Sonny as well. That was someone looking after us upstairs.

“It was quite funny with the try and no try too, I’ve not seen that for a while.

“I went up to question why it wasn’t a try and Richard (Silverwood) explained quietly that it was a try but he’s (the video referee) pressed the wrong button, so I went back and started screaming its a try, so I don’t know whether the boys heard me or not!”

If Samoa finish runners up in Group B, they will return to the Halliwell Jones Stadium for a quarter-final later in the tournament.

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