2023 NRL Player Movements
6 months ago | LeagueUnlimited Media
Blue and white foes dare to dream of finals football
The penultimate match of the Rugby League World Cup group stage will see Samoa and France face off for a quarter final berth against Tonga.
Responding in emphatic fashion following a horror opening round performance, Samoa will be hoping to continue a strong record against France having prevailed in all three previous World Cup meetings (1995, 2008, 2013).
Crossing for 13 tries in a 72-4 victory over Greece last week, coach Matt Parish has given game time to the majority of his squad, excluding wingers Taylan May and Ken Sio.
Victory would see Samoa claim back-to-back wins for the first time since 2016 and only the third time during Parish's tenure dating back almost a decade.
Needing to win by a margin of more than eight points to reach the quarter finals for the first time in nine years, France will be hoping the chance to build cohesion over the past fortnight bodes well heading into Monday's crucial fixture.
Unable to match the class of England during last week's 42-18 defeat at Bolton, coach Laurent Frayssinous has sought to maintain the same team during the tournament with only 18 of the 24-man squad used to date.
The last time France won multiple matches during the group stage of a World Cup occurred in 2000, while the side's lone win over Samoa, from four previous meetings, was in 2006.
Last meeting: RLWC 2013, Group B - France 6 Samoa 22 at Perpignan
Who to watch: Lining up for what may prove to be his final appearance before stepping away from the game, Samoan playmaker Chanel Harris-Tavita will be looking to extend his career by at least one more week. Touted as a star of the future after coming through the ranks at the Warriors, the 23-year-old made an immediate impression in last week's big win over Greece with a brace of tries. Gaining admiration for his honest approach as a person before a footballer, a strong performance from Harris-Tavita will be a fitting end to his time in the game (for now).
Regarded among the best emerging prospects for France in Super League and on the international stage, playmaker Arthur Morgue will be eager to continue his point-scoring prowess. Bagging a try in each of his side's group matches, while retaining a perfect goal kicking record to boot, the 23-year-old has made the number six jersey his own at the World Cup. Performing a number of playmaking roles for his club side, Catalans, Morgue shapes as a pivotal player in the Chanticleers bid to reach the quarter finals.
The favourite: Flexing their attacking muscles with the second largest winning margin of the tournament to date, Samoa are expected to keep the points flowing in their final group match.
My tip: Having been guilty of looking too far beyond the task at hand earlier in the tournament, Samoa will be primed to set up a Pacific match-up for the ages against Tonga next week. Samoa by 16.
1. Joseph Suaalii 5. Brian To'o 4. Stephen Crichton 25. Tim Lafai 2. Taylan May 6. Jarome Luai 7. Anthony Milford 15. Royce Hunt 9. Danny Levi 10. Junior Paulo 11. Ligi Sao 12. Jaydn Su’a 23. Oregon Kaufusi 20. Chanel Harris-Tavita 8. Josh Papali'i 16. Spencer Leniu 17. Martin Taupau 26. Ken Sio
6. Arthur Mourgue 7. Arthur Romano 3. Samisoni Langi 4. Mathieu Laguerre 5. Fouad Yaha 23. César Rougé 24. Tony Gigot 8. Jordan Dezaria 9. Alrix Da Costa 16. Gadwin Springer 11. Benjamin Jullien 12. Paul Séguier 13. Benjamin Garcia 15. Justin Sangaré 14. Eloi Pelissier 17. Mickaël Goudemand 21. Maxime Puech 19. Louis Jouffret
Referees: Todd Smith; Sideline Officials: Liam Rush, Warren Turley; Video Referees: Marcus Griffiths;