SONNY BILL WILLIAMS AND CO SET TO STAR FOR SAMOA IN UNDER 20s CLASH
SONNY Bill Williams, Roy Asotasi, Frank Pritchard and Jeff Lima could be the cornerstones of the greatest Samoan rugby league team ever assembled for a planned Test in April, seriously damaging New Zealand.
This week officials hope to finalise the Samoa v Tonga match for April 20, part of a double header with the under-20s State of Origin clash, and already many of the NRL's top stars are being mooted as participants - which would lock them in to playing for Samoa in this year's World Cup.
The match would be a day after this year's Anzac Test in Canberra - a contest for which the Kiwis would be hoping to pick many players with dual eligibility.
Former international turned NRL welfare and education manager Nigel Vagana is a driving force behind the Samoa-Tonga Test match.
Should Williams defect from New Zealand to Samoa, it would end his ambition to win World Cups with New Zealand in both rugby codes, having been part of the All Blacks' victorious 2011 rugby union campaign.
Vagana refused to divulge the identities of players who had made themselves available, but News Limited understands that all of the aforementioned superstars are seriously contemplating playing for Samoa, which would prevent them turning out for New Zealand in the Anzac Test and World Cup in October-November.
"If the cards - or the coconuts - fall our way, we could potentially have the greatest Samoan team ever," Vagana said. "I actually think Tonga could have their best possible team ever as well.
"It has always been a viable option for 18, 19, 20-year-olds to play for the Pacific nations and then go on and play for New Zealand or Australia, I did it as a young guy, but what's happening now is that it's becoming a serious option for older players, seasoned first-graders.