Players tour Samoa
Four Mt Albert Lions Rugby League Club players will be kicking off their tour of Samoa tomorrow as part of the Toa Samoa NZ Residents squad.
The fixture, to be held at Apia Park, will be the first of a two-leg series between the Toa NZ Residents and the Toa Samoa Residents teams.
Ralph Ah Van, Seleni Sulusi, Louis Tolai and Elisara Sala Faalogo will be representing the NZ Residents after the Mt Albert Lions took home the shield at this year's Premier Auckland Fox Memorial Championship.
This will be the first Toa Samoa NZ premier team to tour Samoa since 1994.
The test series forms an integral part of Toa Samoa's preparations for next year's Rugby League World Cup to be hosted by England and Wales.
Three to five players will be selected for inclusion in the World Cup team.
Mt Albert's Suaia Matagi, a Toa Samoa NZ Resident player since 2009, had to withdraw from this year's squad after being signed to a fulltime contract with the NZ Warriors.
Coach Frank Fuimaono says the team are happy for Matagi but were disappointed to lose him.
"We're pretty gutted, but in saying that it's opened up a place for another young boy finding his feet in league and has given him a foot in the door."