USA V. TOA SAMOA, JUNE 1 AT ALOHA STADIUM
(Honolulu, HAWAI'I) Both sides in the June 1 USA V. Toa Samoa rugby league test match have been named and the visiting team from Samoa is due to arrive in Hawai’i early Friday morning via Hawaiian Airlines.
Half the 18-member Tomahawks team represents Hawai’i with names from American Samoa, Utah, New York, Pennsylvania and Connecticut completing the roster. Fifteen players from Samoa and three from New Zealand comprise the Toa Samoa roster.
Toa Samoa is led by Coach Ponifaasio Vasa; assistant coaches Sam Yue and Tagaloa Rudy Roebeck; Trainer John Rimoni; Manager Tuimatafele Masuisui Fritz “General” Tuiavi’i and Rugby League Samoa President Tagaloa Fa’afouina Su’a. Media manager is Kaz Edwards. RLS governs rugby league in sovereign Samoa with chapters in New Zealand, Australia and the United Kingdom.
According to information provided by RLS, the Toa depart Samoa from Fagali’i International Airport on Upolu Thursday morning, May 30 and are due to arrive in American Samoa late Thursday afternoon. They depart the United States territory Thursday night.
The Hawaiian Airlines flight transporting the Samoa team is scheduled to arrive in Honolulu 5:40 a.m., May 31, the morning of Aloha Friday.
Saturday’s match is a big game for the USA Tomahawks as they seek to find the team chemistry in their bid for the 2013 Rugby League World Cup, the first year USA has qualified for the RLWC. This will be an historic match, the first international rugby test match to be played on the Hawaiian Airlines Field at the Aloha Stadium.
US players will also have the opportunity to impress Toa Samoa selectors ahead of October’s RLWC says RLS.
This first time rugby festival marking Samoa Independence Day in Hawai’i, is being hosted by Grand Pacific Events.
A Captain’s Run is set for Friday afternoon and opening ceremony for Saturday's big game is at 7 p.m.
The ceremony will begin with the reading of a proclamation by Hawai’i Gov. Neil Abercrombie. Lt. Gov. Shan Tsutsui will also be in attendance. A Hawaiian blessing of the field and teams takes place after the reading of the proclamation.
Samoa enters the field first, followed by USA. The Samoa National Anthem, O le Fu’a o le Sa’olotoga, will be played, followed by the playing of the US National Anthem, Star Spangled Banner.
Before the 7:30 p.m. kick-off, Samoa will perform their world famous Siva Tau, the signature “war dance” of rugby teams representing Samoa.
Half-time entertainment is being provided by the Polynesian Cultural Center with the rugby festival awards ceremony set for 9:20 p.m. An after-match for both sides will follow the presentation of awards.
Toa Samoa will be staying at the Hokele Suites Hotel on Lewers Street in Waikiki. They depart Honolulu Monday, June 3 via Hawaiian Airlines and are due to arrive at Fagali’i Tuesday, June 4 (Wednesday, June 5 Samoa Time.)
Here are the rosters for the Samoa Independence Day International Rugby League Test Match.