World Cup picture opens up for Pacific league teams

first_imgPhoto: PHOTOSPORT Toa Samoa rugby league coach Matt Parish Toa Samoa coach Matt Parish said the squad he named to take on England was probably the strongest he’s selected in his four years in charge.Wing Antonio Winterstein believes they’re more than capable of causing an upset.”When you put that blue jersey on you go in there to do your best and to do your country proud so definitely be going out there to get a result,” he said.”We believe we’ve got the team to do it so the result is the big picture but, at the end of the day, the boys are going out there and doing their best for their country.”Fiji will be looking to improve on last year’s shock loss against Papua New Guinea when they take on Mate Ma’a Tonga.Bati coach Mick Potter said this week had been an important step in Fiji’s World Cup preparations.”To build that camraderie and build that friendliness the Fiji Bati team creates,” he said.”It’s a unique atmosphere that I’ve been associated with…it’s a good environment to be in and they become very tight and close.””I want that to keep building, I want a competitive game and I want them to build those combinations on the field as well. Those off the field things that happen will help them on the field and they will be more committed to each other.”Papua New Guinea are looking to build on last year’s upset win against Fiji with a strong showing against Pacific Test debutants the Cook Islands in the first match of the day.It will also mark the long-awaited test debut of Tommy Butterfield, who toured France with the Kumuls back in 2007.”It’s a true honour and a privilege to run out for my country and run out for my family.””It’s been ten years – I know I’ve been on the tour and played tour games and a few other games for PNG but none have counted as tests, so definitely looking forward to this one and I know a lot of people back home are definitely going to be tuning in as well so really forward to it,” Butterfield said.Meanwhile the Cook Islands head coach Tony Iro said they are just excited to be a part of the Pacific Test after four years of being ignored.”Just the opportunity to pull on the jersey rep one round just gives them an opportunity to show them what the Cook Islands, even though we are not here in the World Cup this year, we are really serious about making it in 2021.”The 2017 World Cup kicks off at the end of October.last_img read more