Samoa had a disappointing end to their campaign as they were eliminated from the competition only a year after their historic run to the World Cup Grand Final. They had a 38-12 loss to Australia a week ago and a 50-0 crushing defeat by New Zealand in Auckland.
Samoa faced a tough challenge in the Pacific Championship with just four players retained from the previous World Cup and former Toa players appearing in both the Kiwi and Kangaroo squads. The absence of key players such as Jarome Luai, Joseph Suaalii, and Brian To'o was definitely felt.
The Pacific Championship has provided an opportunity for coaches to introduce new players to the game. Many of these debutants are in their early 20s, and according to Ben Gardiner, some of them will return to the NRL competition as improved players.
Samoa, in both games, have debutant 12 new players. "that's basically a whole new team," says Samoa Coach Ben Gardiner
A player who has undoubtedly made his mark in this competition and has caught the eye of many coaches and selectors is Sualauvi Faalogo, the rookie fullback from the Melbourne Storm. After his impressive Test debut against the Kangaroos, Sualauvi Faalogo is in for a significant pay raise, as the Melbourne Storm Management plans to double his salary.
The recent changes in Toa Samoa squad's roster can be viewed as a positive thing. This period of transition presents a great opportunity for Samoa. It not only brings out new talents and showcases their abilities but also allows the team to develop new strategies and techniques.
Although there are significant immediate challenges, this phase of rebuilding promises long-term benefits, laying the foundation for a stronger and more competitive Samoa in the years to come.