The World Cup has showcased the togetherness of the rugby league community, and in particular the unity and love of the Pacific Islands, to an unprecedented level, according to former Samoa skipper Willie Poching.
The ex-Wakefield head coach has spoken of the unique atmosphere created in Samoa’s thrilling quarter final win over Tonga, and believes it was a legacy moment for rugby league.
“It was fantastic theatre,” Poching tells the new Love Rugby League podcast ahead of the Samoa v England semi-final at Arsenal on Saturday.
“The quarter-final was a fantastic challenge of war dances of the like I have never seen before to that magnitude.
“The performance of all 34 players was outstanding. It was a wonderful quarter-final and every Samoan fan has walked away from that pretty pumped and excited for what is to come at the Emirates.
“Then afterwards, the shaking of hands and the showing of brotherhood was massively important for us in our Pacific community.
“That we recognise when it is time to have that intensity but the bigger picture of our communities coming together. Then the scenes from back home, the fans driving around, the parades, the cars having both flags. It wouldn’t have been the case a little while ago.
“Such is what this game has been able to do in bringing everyone together, and the peace and harmony the players showed after the war dances and with the prayer after the game. Huge. Those guys are doing a really good job at being the role models that our community needs.”
“The showing of brotherhood was massively important for us in our Pacific community.”
Poching believes Samoa’s role models also have the class to spring a shock and beat England to reach their first ever World Cup final, and could even meet New Zealand at Old Trafford.
“The Kiwis were my pick and as long as they can score around the posts they can get it done.
“My heart is with Samoa this week and I k ow the team understands the magnitude of the challenge this week. It will be loud and I’m hoping the boys have enough in them.”
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