Samoa target big effort against Kangaroos

After two agonisingly close defeats, Samoa face the challenge for lifting themselves back up for their final Four Nations pool match against Australia.

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But experienced NRL second rower Frank Pritchard is promising no let-up in intensity when they meet the world champion Kangaroos in Wollongong next Sunday.

“We have to play our game, complete our sets and just do what we do best,” he said

“We’re going to go down fighting, that’s for sure.”

Samoa went into the rugby league tournament as the rank outsiders.

They gave notice they wouldn’t be easybeats by leading England with a quarter-hour to go in Brisbane last weekend before losing 32-26.

Against New Zealand in Whangarei on Saturday, they were in front even deeper into the contest, the Kiwis escaping with a 14-12 victory after centre Shaun Kenny-Dowall scored with five minutes left.

“It’s a tough pill to swallow, considering a couple of calls didn’t go our way,” Pritchard said.

“The boys are pretty emotional. We have to regroup and come together next week against Australia. It’s not easy, but we have to pull together.”

The Canterbury forward is among a group of former Kiwis in the Samoa squad, making his debut last weekend after having earned 27 caps for New Zealand.

As for his team’s committed performances so far, he said: “We’re definitely not here to make up the numbers.

“The boys wear the jersey with pride and honour.”

Samoa got plenty of backing at Toll Stadium with a large contingent of their fans making the trip from Auckland.

Pritchard said the amount of support boosted the players.

“The small nation of Samoa – for people to come to Whangarei in numbers, I’d just like to say thank you to all those guys,” he said.

“It’s a fair way from Auckland, but the support comes from everywhere.”