Toa Samoa fans stand proud despite RLWC loss

November 20, 2022

While Toa Samoa has lost the Rugby League World Cup final to Australia, they’ve won in uniting a nation.

For fans around the world, it has always been about much more than 80 minutes of football – it’s about unity and hope.

"It's not about winning, but it’s about love, support, passion – about the culture, not just for Samoa but for all of the Pacific," one Toa Samoa supporter said.

Despite the early morning start in South Auckland’s Ōtara, it was very much a family affair, with makeshift beds for the little ones.

Meanwhile, in Samoa, smartphones were prominent among the array of fruit and vegetables at Apia’s early morning markets.

Villagers also gathered around fales to watch the game and, in an unprecedented move, the main stadium was open on a Sunday with a big screen for those seeking a better view.

As the final played out, each moment was felt by Samoans worldwide, from anxiety to jubilation.

The final delivered Samoa a reason to unite and celebrate after three tough years as a measles epidemic took through the lives of many of their children, followed close behind by Covid-19 and border closures.

It was Samoa’s time to stand proud.

“They see us now, they see us now. It’s the beginning of another era, end of another era," a fan said.