Lee Radford hopeful of Samoa causing an upset against Australia in World Cup final

Samoa celebrate World Cup semi-final win PA Credit: Alamy
Samoa celebrate World Cup semi-final win PA Credit: Alamy

Samoa defence coach Lee Radford believes his side are capable of causing an upset against reigning champions Australia in the World Cup final.

Samoa became the first-ever tier two nation to reach a World Cup final after beating hosts England 27-26 in golden point extra-time thanks to a drop goal from Stephen Crichton.

Samoa’s victory came just four weeks after they were trounced 60-6 by England in the tournament opener in Newcastle, a result which did not take Radford by surprise.

“We had 14 players in England and the rest of the squad were on the p*** in Australia,” Radford said.

“They landed on the Sunday morning and we trained twice that week so in terms of preparation, it was awful.

“But they adapted fantastically to the ruck tempo over the next month and got a little bit better every time; and we’ve got to get a little bit better next week.”

Samoa want to stun the world

Australia were rattled in their semi-final against New Zealand at Elland Road on Friday night before squeezing home 16-14; and Radford is hoping he can help spring another shock.

“We know exactly what to expect,” Radford said. “When they get opportunities, they take them and they’ve got a knack of winning, which is a special trait.

“But this little old nation might be able to cause another upset.”

Head coach Matt Parish will also have to wait to discover if hooker Fa’amanu Brown will be allowed to play against Australia after being knocked out in a head collision with team-mate Oregon Kaufusi 14 minutes into the semi-final.

Brown, who was drafted into the team when regular hooker Danny Levi was forced to return to Australia for pressing family reasons, failed to return to the field but, according to Radford, passed his head test.

Lee Radford takes time out of Samoa celebrations to console friend Shaun Wane

Castleford coach Lee Radford took time out from celebrating Samoa’s history-making victory over England to console his old friend Shaun Wane; and admits the shock result could have a detrimental effect on the attendance for the World Cup final.

“I’m gutted for Shaun,” said Radford. “And I know the game in general could have done with that shot in the arm.

“I don’t know how it’s going to affect ticket sales with England not being there.

“But I’ve been with these boys for well over a month. The odds were stacked against them to get to this final so to achieve it with such a small rugby league playing nation is phenomenal.”

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