Updated 3pm Friday 8 Dec 2022. Rugby League Samoa has confirmed Toa Samoa will be coming home for a welcome celebration, arriving 27 December 2022 and most will stay for five days. The team will be bringing their families and will be hosted at Return to Paradise Resort.
Rugby League Samoa Head of Player Welfare affectionately called Chief Entertainment Officer (CEO) Lauaki Fereti Tuilagi has confirmed to Samoa Global News that players, management as well as their families, will be making the trip to Samoa from various parts of the world.
“We’re trying to arrange a chartered flight from Sydney..
“Toa Samoa is all about family,,” said Lauaki “and the team will be bringing their families to experience Samoa and especially our people,” said Lauaki.
“The programme for the visit is coming together and should be finalised and annouced soon. But I’m here now in Samoa to help organise various events and activities,” said Lauaki.
Toa Samoa’s iconic CEO caught up with SGN at Taumeasina Island Resort, where he was himself spending time with his own family – his brothers and former Manu Samoa Internationals, Leaupepe Alesana Tuilagi and Fuiono Andrew Tuilagi. Also with them was former Manu Samoa legend Fainuulelei Matamua Filipo Saena.
Since the Toa Samoa’s historical Rugby League World Cup final against Australia and semifinal win over England, the Toa Samoa have become national heroes, igniting parades acorss the globe, and filling airports in Australia with public welcomings. One can be forgiven for thinking the Pacific Islanders actually won the World Cup with the reaction and response of fans from around the world.
Lauaki Fereti Tuilagi, himself a former Manu Samoa rugby international, says the incorporation of Samoan culture and family values has been a core part of the Toa Samoa success story.
“We put our culture at the centre of all our activities, and for the Toa Samoa team, family is everything..”
“When the boys dance, sing and participate in cultural activities such as the ava ceremony we held for them in the UK, that brings meaning to them.
They can get a glimpse of what it is like in the village, when the ava is done amongst matai. And when they dance and sing, they take off their shirts just like we do in the village, and celebrate with joy straight from the heart,” said Lauaki.
Lauaki says the Return to Paradise Resort at Lefaga was large enough to provide accomoddation for the entire team, and the families who will be joining the celebrations.
“They arrive on the 27th of December and some will stay on in Samoa for two weeks, with most of the team returning in 5 days..”
Samoan players from the recent Toa Samoa success have pledged to keep playing for their country of heritage and it is a expected that they will be joined by more stars going forward.
Samoa and Tonga remain as Tier 2 nations, meaning this will not impact the many Australian born players from pursuing the State of Origin dream in Australia. There has also been talk of a Pacific State of Origin between Samoa and Tonga.