You have skipped the navigation, tab for page content
Opposing styles to clash in Auckland

Ball retention will be the focus as Toa Samoa go in search of their first ever Test victory over New Zealand on Saturday night, while the Kiwis are being urged to throw caution to the wind.

Despite having a handful of the NRL Telstra Premiership's best offload exponents in their team, Samoa will adopt a completion-based strategy in their opening match of the World Cup, with past lessons fresh in their minds according to assistant coach David Penna.

"We played England back in May and we shot ourselves in the foot. We completed poorly and it doesn't matter what level you're playing at, if you don't get your fair share of the ball you make it very, very hard on yourself," Penna said.

"We have got to complete our sets and not give them too much football. Hopefully around that 75th minute mark we are still in the game, and you never know what can happen from there.

"If we complete our sets, hold the football and defend well and we put ourselves in with a really big chance."

In stark contrast, Kiwis coach David Kidwell has consistently called on his team to play a more open style at the tournament, even coining the phrase 'Kiwi footy' to describe it.

Veteran New Zealand hooker Thomas Leuluai expected it to be a natural fit with the 17 players selected for week one.

"I think the players we have picked, that is most probably their strength. They are big but also mobile and we would be silly not to play to those strengths," Leuluai said.

"Most of our big men can pass, can offload. That's something we have been trying to promote.

"It has [worked for us in the past] if I am honest. The times we have been successful we have sort of played like that and a little bit, not unstructured completely, but a little bit unstructured, and just playing to our strengths really.

"Sometimes we try and hold it back, but 'Kiddy' has been pushing us to play some football, so hopefully we can do that."

The Kiwis lost starting back-rower Kenny Bromwich to a groin injury on Friday, with Jared Waerea-Hargreaves coming into the 17, while Samoa are set to run out as named mid-week.


Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

Premier Partner

Media Partners

Major Partners

View All Partners