The Rugby League World Cup final hits Manchester United's Old Trafford ground this Saturday afternoon and Hull FC have a playing representation. The professional rugby league club with the least amount of players in the tournament prior to the start now has one in the final, but this isn't about the Black and Whites, it's about Ligi Sao.
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WATCH 𝕝𝕚𝕧𝕖 𝕤𝕥𝕣𝕖𝕒𝕞 𝔽𝕣𝕖𝕖
Manchester city, England in World Cup, Playoffs - Rugby League.
NAME: Australia - Samoa
DATE: 19 Nov 2022
TIME: 11:00 UTC
VENUE: Old Trafford, Manchester, England
Samoan fans around the world are preparing for parades and celebrations ahead of the Rugby
League World Cup showdown between Toa Samoa and Australia's Kangaroos.
Toa Samoa enters Old Trafford in Manchester early on Sunday morning as the first Pacific Island
nation to qualify for a Rugby League World Cup final.
The 30-year-old was drafted into the team after Luciano Leilua pulled out due to NRL protocols. Sao missed the opener against England, but he has featured in the last four games against Greece, France, Tonga and the England re-match. Now, he's set for a shot at the final against the might of Australia. It's not a bad story to tell.
Getting over for one of Samoa's five tries in the semi-final win over England last week, Sao couldn't be more proud of the tiny Pacific Island nation - the birthplace of his parents.
“It’s such a special feeling knowing that we are one of the final two teams standing in the competition,” Sao told the club's official website. “Making history and seeing the passion our supporters have, both over here in England and back home in Samoa and New Zealand, makes all the hard work worth it.
We’re a small little island, so I think we’re definitely punching above our weight, but I’m buzzing for it and I’m ready for the big dance.”
Deployed on the left edge, Sao hasn't looked back. It's a role he has played before and one he may well play again for Hull FC.
For now, though, Samoa is the focus - the nation he debuted for in 2018 against Tonga in a mid-season test.
Before the comp I was speaking to my partner and I said all I wanted to do was to play just one game for Samoa, Sao continued. "All I wanted to do was pull that blue jersey on one more time.
To have played a few games at the World Cup and now preparing for a final is crazy and sometimes you just have to pinch yourself. I’m so grateful for the opportunity and I knew I had to take it with both hands – you never know where that opportunity will take you.
I was so honoured to have been involved against England in the semi-final last week. It was surreal. I took myself upstairs and jumped in the ice bath and then went to see the kids and family afterwards. It was a proud moment for me and for our nation.
No doubt, this isn't the final most people expected, when this event began a month ago - especially after England demolished Samoa 60-6 in the tournament opener.
The draw was obviously set up to provide the home team with the easiest passage to the title game, with world No.1 New Zealand matched against defending champions Australia in one semi-final and England expected to face Tonga in the other.
After his team's early capitulation, Samoa coach Matt Parrish was crucified on social media, with many calling for his head, but there was way too much talent on the roster to write them off that early. They upset Tonga in the quarter-finals and then shocked the English in a golden-point semi to set up the contest with the Kangaroos.
International rugby league is a dysfunctional entity, but its eligibility rules that allow players to play for second-tier nations, despite previously playing for the big three - Australia, New Zealand and England - has breathed new life into the World Cup.
Samoans all over the world are rallying behind their national team and while it's hard to see them toppling the classy Aussies, no-one saw them getting this far, so anything is possible.
Join us at 5am for kickoff.
TAB Odds: Australia $1.10, Samoa $6.50
Australia: 1-James Tedesco, 2-Daly Cherry-Evans, 3-Ben Hunt, 4-Valentine Holmes, 5-Jake Trbojevic, 6-Regan Campbell-Gillard, 7-Cameron Munster, 8-Latrell Mitchell, 9-Josh Addo-Carr, 10-Jack Wighton, 11-Cameron Murray, 13-Patrick Carrigan, 14-Nathan Cleary, 16-Reuben Cotter, 17-Angus Crichton, 18-Tim Fa'asuamaleaui, 20-Harry Grant, 21-Liam Martin, 24-Isaah Yeo
Samoa: 1- Joseph Suaali'i, 2-Taylan May, 4-Stephen Crichton, 5-Brian To'o, 6-Jarome Luai, 7-Anthony Milford, 8-Josh Papali'i, 10-Junior Paulo, 11-Ligi Sao, 12-Jaydn Su'a, 15-Royce Hunt, 16-Spencer Leniu, 17-Martin Taupau, 2-Chanel Harris-Tavita, 22-Kelma Tuilagi, 23-Oregon Kaufusi, 25-Tim Lafai, 26-Ken Sio, 27-Connelly Lemuelu
You can also watch Fox League and Kayo’s post game show at 04:55am AEDT.
Kangaroos head coach Mal Meninga has named his squad. There are no changes. He's kept the faith with the 19 players who managed to edge out New Zealand 16-14 at Elland Road in last week's semi-final. James Tedesco will once again captain Australia.
It's bad news for Samoa, though. Having notched up an historic win over England in the semi-finals, Samoa's injury list continues to grow. Forward Spencer Leniu is carrying a shoulder issue and is in doubt for Saturday's RLWC final, while Fa’amanu Brown is expected to be ruled out owing to concussion.
Can the Samoan Warriors upset the Kangaroos? The men's final of the covid-delayed Rugby League World Cup 2021 kicks off at 4pm GMT on Saturday, 19th November 2022. Here's how to watch a free Australia vs Samoa live stream from anywhere in the world.
Good news for UK fans: the Rugby League World Cup final between Australia and Samoa is free-to-watch on BBC iPlayer (opens in new tab). The stream is restricted to viewers within the UK with, but that doesn't mean you have to miss out.
Are you a UK citizen travelling outside the UK at the moment?
Use a VPN to watch the Australia vs Samoa on BBC iPlayer free from abroad. (opens in new tab)
We rate ExpressVPN as the best VPN. It comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee and 24/7 customer support. Full details below.
How to watch the Australia vs Samoa from abroad using a VPN
Even if you have subscribed to the relevant Rugby League World Cup 2021 rights holders, you won't be able to use them when outside your own country. The service will know your location based on your IP address, and will automatically block your access.
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) helps you get around this obstacle. A VPN creates a private connection between your device and the internet, such that the servers and services you’re accessing aren’t aware of what you’re doing. All the information passing back and forth is entirely encrypted.
There are many VPN providers out there, with some more reliable and safe than others. As a rule, we’d suggest a paid-for service such as ExpressVPN (opens in new tab) which offers a 100 per cent risk-free money back guarantee. If you're not happy with the service any time within the first 30-days, then you can cancel with no penalties at all.
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ExpressVPN hits it for six with a 30-day money back guarantee with its VPN service. You can use it to watch on your mobile, tablet, laptop, TV, games console and more. There's 24/7 customer support and three months free when you sign-up.
Fan of the round ball too? Here's how to watch World Cup 2022
How to use a VPN for Australia vs Samoa
Using a VPN to watch Australia vs Samoa is incredibly simple.
1. Install the VPN of your choice. ExpressVPN (opens in new tab) is the one we recommend.
2. Open up the VPN app and choose the location of the service you wish to access. For Australia vs Samoa, you may wish to choose 'UK' for BBC iPlayer.
3. Then head over to BBC iPlayer (opens in new tab) on your browser or device and enjoy the Australia vs Samoa free live stream.
USA: Australia vs Samoa live stream
Rugby fans based in the US can tune into the Rugby League World Cup final – Australia vs Samoa – on combat sports streaming platform Fite (opens in new tab).
It's a pricey pay-per-view affair – $99.99 gets you access to every men's game.
Don't forget: UK fans travelling overseas can stream the whole tournament free on BBC iPlayer.
Use a VPN to tune into BBC iPlayer while abroad (opens in new tab).
Australia: Australia vs Samoa live stream
If you're in Australia, local streaming service Kayo Sports will be providing live coverage of the Rugby League World Cup final featuring Australia vs Samoa.
Kayo Sports offers new users a free 7-day trial (opens in new tab). Subscription costs from AU$25 a month thereafter.
UK citizen in Australia? Don't forget that licence fee-paying UK nationals can use a VPN (opens in new tab) to access a free live stream on BBC iPlayer.
New Zealand: Australia vs Samoa live stream
Spark Sport has exclusive rights to broadcast the Australia vs Samoa final in New Zealand.
If you're sitting on the fence about signing up, know that Spark Sport offers a 7-day FREE free trial (opens in new tab), so you can try before you buy.
Once that's over, a subscription costs $24.99 per month, and includes the Premier League, plenty of Black Caps cricket action, F1 racing and MotoGP.
Spark Sport is available via web browsers on your PC or Mac, plus Apple and Android mobile devices, Chromecast, Apple TV, selected Samsung, Sony, Panasonic and LG TVs, and select Freeview streamers.
Canada: Australia vs Samoa live stream
Fite (opens in new tab) is the place to watch the Rugby League World Cup final between Australia and Samoa if you're based in Canada. Pay-per-view access to the All Events Men's Bundle costs $49.99.
Germany/Italy: Australia vs Samoa live stream
Fite (opens in new tab) is also the place to watch a live stream of the Rugby League World Cup 2021 final if you're based in Germany, Italy or "most of Europe" (but not France). Pay-per-view access to the All Events Men's Bundle costs $49.99. Individual games cost from $7.99 each.
Australia vs Samoa is set to be the most exciting Rugby League World Cup final in years. After six weeks of action, two red-hot teams will battle it out for the Paul Barrière trophy at Old Trafford. Make sure you know how to watch an Australia vs Samoa live stream for free from wherever you are.
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