Bulls face NRL stars

Sea Eagles prop/lock Martin Taupau is one of many NRL players in the Samoa side.
Sea Eagles prop/lock Martin Taupau is one of many NRL players in the Samoa side.
The Canterbury Bulls have the rare chance to test themselves against some of the NRL’s biggest stars when they host Samoa at Nga Puna Wai on Friday night.

While the odds will firmly be stacked in favour of Samoa outclassing the provincial side, Canterbury will have hopes of causing an upset and replicating the accomplishments of the 1990 side which upset a touring Great Britain side 18-10.

“It’s pretty cool that it’s happened in Canterbury with us beating a national team before, we’ll definitely be using that as inspiration,” said Canterbury Bulls coach Andrew Auimatagi.

Matt Parish’s Samoa side arrived in Christchurch on Tuesday full of NRL talent. He says a full strength side will be put out on Friday night which they are using as a dress rehearsal for their test against Fiji in Auckland on November 2.

“We think it’s ideal preparation other than being a bit chilly . . . the new facilities in Christchurch are fantastic,” said Parish, who saw Canterbury defeat New South Wales Country earlier this month 17-16.

“They’ve got some big boys who can run the ball and a good half [Tevin Arona] that played for Cook Islands at the nines over the weekend, so they will be a good test for us.”

Tonight Samoa will hold an open training session for the public at Nga Puna Wai from 4-5pm.

•Entry for Friday’s match is $15 for adults and $5 for 16 and under. Kick-off 7.30pm.

Samoa squad: Tim Lafai (St George Illawarra Dragons), Joey Leilua (Canberra Raiders), Jorge Taufua (Manly Sea Eagles), Brian Too (Penrith Panthers), Jarome Luai (Penrith Panthers), Danny Levi (Newcastle Knights), Lalotoa Mata’afa (Canterbury Bulldogs), Marion Seve (Melbourne Storm), Junior Paulo (Parramatta Eels), Dunamis Lui (Canberra Raiders), Martin Taupau (Manly Sea Eagles), Moses Leota (Penrith Panthers), Luciano Leilua (St George Illawarra Dragons), James Gavet (Huddersfield Giants), Bunty Afoa (New Zealand Warriors), Michael Chee Kam (Wests Tigers), Ligi Sao (Hull FC).



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