Toa Samoa

Papua New Guinea v Toa Samoa: Pacific Test preview

It makes for an interesting match-up in the 2019 Ox & Palm Pacific Test Invitational between two nations with not a lot of playing history against each other.

Different styles and different strengths mean on-paper analysis leads to a few possibilities in the outcome.

Will Samoa, boosted by the return of Martin Taupau, power straight through the middle? Or can the more nimble PNG playmakers use speed and skill to stand-up the Samoans?

The Rundown

Key match-up

Milford chooses Samoa over Origin as four players defect to NZ

The 23 year old played in Queensland's Game One State of Origin defeat against New South Wales earlier this month but will be unavailable for Game Two on Sunday after opting to represent Samoa.

Milford played in Samoa's Pacific Test defeat by England last May but missed the World Cup due to a shoulder injury.

Manly winger Jorge Taufua is set to make his debut for Samoa, having previously represented Tonga, however four former Toa Samoa internationals have switched allegiance to New Zealand ahead of the Kiwis controversial test against England in Denver this weekend.

Tonga to name formidable team for Test against Samoa

Fonua-Blake, who played for Tonga in last year’s corresponding Test against Fiji, has decided to again align himself to the Mate Ma’a after representing the Kiwis at the World Cup.

The Manly prop will join a powerful Tongan pack led by Taumalolo and Fifita, which is set to also include the likes of Tevita Pangai jnr, Joe Ofahengaue, Siosiua Taukieaho, Peni Terepo and Manu Ma’u.

Hopoate, Konrad Hurrell, David Fusitu’a Solomone Kata, Mahe Fonua, Daniel Tupou and the Jennings brothers, Michael, Robert and George are in contention for places in the outside backs.

Lafai, Winterstein into Samoa squad

After announcing their 24-man squad in Samoa on Friday morning, officials were given the belated news that Newcastle Knights skipper Mata’utia and Knights-bound Brisbane centre Moga have been ruled unfit.

Forget the big three, it's the big six or seven

"I don't think it is the big three any more," Parish said. 

"I actually think it is the big six or the big seven because they have changed the international eligibility rules for players and I think the gap between the third and fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh nations isn't that great now."

While Scotland secured a draw with New Zealand during last year's Four Nations and Italy shocked England in a warm-up match before the 2013 World Cup, no tier two country has beaten one of the big three in a Test or major tournament for more than 35 years.