Pacific islands prepare for what is tipped to be a brutal quarter-final.
Samoa coach Matt Parish has insisted there are more than just local bragging rights at stake when his side take on Pacific Island rivals Fiji in Sunday’s World Cup quarter-final.
A spot in the last four is a glittering potential prize for Parish’s team in Warrington, north-west England, but there is also the added bonus of sealing a spot in the 2014 Four Nations.
Samoa, who come into the quarter-final clash on the back of a 22-6 win over France, have yet to reach the last four of a World Cup.
And despite being without the suspended Leeson Ah Mau after their ill-tempered victory in Perpignan they come into the clash on a roll.
Having lost their tournament opener to defending champions New Zealand they have now won two from two in their trademark hard-hitting style.
And Parish said there would be no quarter given against Fiji in a clash that promises to be the most physically brutal of the tournament so far.
“We wanted to be physical against France, because again we knew that the French crowd would certainly fire them up, so we knew we had to stand up to them and I thought the boys played terrific,” he said.
“But now we are, as I said, all our energies are going into Warrington on Sunday against Fiji.
“It will be certainly very physical. It’s a spot in the final four, also whoever wins this will be in next year’s Four Nations which is massive for either country who can do it for the development of rugby league in that country.
“It’s going to be a massive game and something that we’re all really looking forward to.
While Samoa are on a two-match winning run, Fiji have lost their last two including a second-half blow out against England last weekend in Group A that saw the Islanders go down to a 34-12 defeat.
They too are hamstrung in selection as Korbin Sims was given a two-match ban for a dangerous tackle during that game.
Fiji coach Rick Stone admitted the loss of Sims was tough to take but the Newcastle Knights assistant was confident his side could cope in his absence as they bid to repeat their efforts of 2008 and make the final four.
“It’s a collision game and unfortunately you’re not in control of everything once you hit each other at high speed and different things like that,” he said.
“So accidents do happen and unfortunately we’ve lost one of our better players in young Korbin Sims who plays for me with the Newcastle Knights.
“Yeah, look we need to improve a couple of things but our first half against England was very good.
“The Samoa team is packed full of NRL experience, so they’re a highly-rated opponent, and we’ve got a few players of our own with NRL experience. But it should still be a good game.”