Samoa leaning on Lee Radford and Tim Lafai as part of England preparation

Josh McAllister
Lee Radford Tim Lafai

Samoa head coach Matt Parish says assistant coach Lee Radford and centre Tim Lafai will be a big part of their preparations for their semi-final showdown with England. 

The side will be looking to avenge their 60-6 hammering in the tournament’s opener in Newcastle, with Samoa setting up a rematch following their quarter-final victory over Tonga.

Castleford boss Radford, 43, linked up with Samoa ahead of the World Cup as assistant under Parish, and will know more than anyone how to prepare against the stars of England.

Meanwhile Lafai, who was a late inclusion to the squad to cover injuries, will potentially face Salford team-mates Marc Sneyd, Kallum Watkins and Andy Ackers.

Parish also insists his side have not been impacted by the first result against England, and have only been looking ahead ever since.

“This tournament was never about the first game, it was about the last game,” he said.

“We were never going to be at our best in the first game. It was always going to be about building through the tournament. I’ve been through it numerous times, obviously the scoreline wasn’t great, things didn’t go our way and we lost three or four players in the game.

“England were unreal, we were pretty ordinary. What can we say about it? We’ve moved on.

“I don’t worry about criticism. I’m just proud of this group for what they’ve done. We knew what we had to do, we’ve improved as the competition has gone on so it is pleasing to be part of this group.

Lee Radford “a big part of our preparation” says Parish

“I’ve got a lot of good coaches helping me – DJ and Radders, Tooves – who has done an amazing job which I’m sure everyone will acknowledge – in our group. It’s pleasing for everyone involved.”

Samoa and England will meet again this Saturday at the Emirates Stadium, with Radford looking to upset his home nation.

“He’s a big part of our preparation is Radders. I’m sure he’s looking forward to having another crack,” Parish said.

The Samoa boss also believes 31-year-old Lafai is in the form of his career and will play a part in their preparations.

“He’s probably in career best form,” Parish said. “He’s a good fella is Laf. He was with Tony in 2013 here and he’s certainly had a rollercoaster ride.

“He’s a talented player and in career best form. He’s slotted straight in from week one. We’ll be leaning on him, definitely.

“I’ve only watched one [England] game which was the first one and that was pretty good. They are the home nation, down to the last four. They’ve done pretty well and have won convincingly in all four games.”

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