Huge doubts around skipper Harrison Hansen's availability for Samoa against Kiwis (From Warrington Guardian)
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Huge doubts around skipper Harrison Hansen's availability for Samoa against Kiwis
10:54pm Friday 25th October 2013 in Wolves news
CONFUSION tonight reigns over the Samoa squad to face NewZealand.
Captain Harrison Hansen has been named in the 19-man squad, but in a press release from Samoa Rugby League's media officer it states that the Wigan Warriors second rower misses out through injury.
Hansen did limp out of the warm-up defeat to England Knights at the weekend.
Squad confusion has been a feature of the Samoa build-up to the campaign, naming Warrington-bound Roy Asotasi in a 24-man squad officially released by the Rugby League World Cup organisers despite him having withdrawn due to injury and family matters.
The event's official website then only listed a squad of 20, although the competition's rules allow 24 per country.
Twenty-five players featured in the warm-up game against the Knights, there were two players with the number 25 on the teamsheet for that game while another played in a blank shirt.
The 19-man squad named for Sunday's New Zealand match at The Halliwell Jones Stadium in Warrington includes a number of players who have plied their trade in Super League - Saints' Sia Soliola, Widnes' Frank Winterstein and Huddersfield's David Fa'alago - along with a host of NRL regulars, including linchpin Ben Roberts and exciting full back Anthony Milford.
Squad: Leeson Ah Mau, David Fa’alogo, Pita Godinet, Harrison Hansen, Joseph Leilua, Reni Maitua, Penani Manumalealii, Mose Masoe, Suaia Matagi, Anthony Milford, Junior Moors, Ben Roberts, Junior Sa’u, Iosia Soliola, Sauaso Sue, Mark Taufua, Daniel Vidot, Antonio Winterstein, Frank Winterstein.
Roberts says he is honoured to represent his nation as the Toa (Warriors) squad look to gel quickly.
The players have only been preparing for two weeks in the build-up to RLWC2013, with a lot of the side playing together for the first time in their one warm-up match against the England Knights, in which they were defeated 52-16.
However Roberts, who is participating in his second World Cup, believes that the his team has already put that result behind them as they prepare to face the defending champions New Zealand.
“It is an honour and a privilege to be part of my second World Cup,” said Roberts.
“I loved the first and it is just an honour to have the chance to represent my heritage and family back home.
“We are not reading too much into the trial match result. It was only a warm-up so it was about trying out different combinations and letting the players get to know each other on the pitch.
“It was the first time a lot of us have played together and it was the only chance we had to find out about the team.
“We have only been preparing for two weeks but the boys are all getting along really well and we have come on leaps and bounds in that time.
Samoa failed to make it out of the group stage at RLWC2008 but Roberts believes that anything can happen.
“New Zealand are arguably the best team in the competition, so we know we are in for a hard game,” said Roberts.
“But the game seems to have reached a stage where most matches come down to whoever performs the best on the day. There are no foregone conclusions.
“We are not thinking about Papua New Guinea or France at the moment. Our attentions are firmly on New Zealand and that is how it needs to be. We have to take it one game at a time.”
Tickets for the New Zealand v Samoa RLWC2013 Group B game at The Halliwell Jones Stadium, Warrington, (6.00pm) are available to purchase. To buy, either visit www.eticketing.co.uk/rlwc/ or call the 24-hour Ticket Hotline on 08448472013.
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