Samoa coach hits out after 'awful' Rugby League World Cup swipe

Samoa coach Matt Parish (R) will be happy to have proven critics wrong after his side beat Tonga to earn a Rugby League World Cup semi-final spot. Pic: Getty
Samoa coach Matt Parish (R) will be happy to have proven critics wrong after his side beat Tonga to earn a Rugby League World Cup semi-final spot. Pic: Getty

Phil Gould accused them of treating the trip to England as a holiday, Andrew Voss would have sent them home and Willie Mason wanted the coach removed before the tournament even started.

Yet, brave Samoa sit just 80 minutes away from unseating rugby league's established international hierarchy by gate-crashing the World Cup final.

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They will meet England in next weekend's semi-final after seeing off fierce Pacific Island rival Tonga in an epic and emotion-charged quarter-final showdown in Warrington.

For coach Matt Parish, it's validation for his coaching methods despite a torrent of criticism following Samoa's 60-6 loss to England in their opening pool game.

After the match, Gould tweeted: "Samoa look like they are on holidays and haven't trained together. Very disjointed. Defence awful.

"Taking nothing away from England, but Samoa were a rabble. Never in the contest. Dismal display."

Voss, who is in the UK commenting on the World Cup, went a step further.

He said: "It was insipid. What have they been doing for the last week?

"After the game he (Parish) said, ‘if we played the game in another 24 hours, it would be entirely different’. What planet is he on?

"The Samoan side, I'd be sending them home. I would send them home based on that performance."

Mason last year urged Parish to stand down after a player-led bid to overthrow him failed on the back of a campaign to instal the Johns brothers and Sonny Bill Williams as a three-man coaching team.

The Samoan team celebrates their Rugby League World Cup quarter final victory over Tonga in Warrington. Pic: Getty
The Samoan team celebrates their Rugby League World Cup quarter final victory over Tonga in Warrington. Pic: Getty

Samoa coach brushes off England humiliation

A prickly Parish, who challenged the media "to write the truth" after his side qualified for the World Cup quarter-finals, always insisted the England result was down to one bad game and the Samoans would bounce back.

"I don’t worry about criticism," he said after the win over Tonga.

"This tournament was never about the first game, it’s about the last game. You guys (in the media) made it about the first game. We were never going to be at our best first game.

"It’s about building through the tournament. Obviously the scoreline wasn't great, things didn’t go our way and we lost three or four players.

"England were unreal, we were pretty ordinary. What more can we say about it? We've moved on."

NRL superstars Jarome Luai and Joseph Suaalii were instrumental in the 20-18 win over Tonga, which sets-up an absorbing encounter with England for the right to meet either New Zealand or Australia in the final.

Parish may have the last laugh after all.

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