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Paulo picks Samoa for league WC

When Parramatta prop Junior Paulo was told that he could represent the nation whose national anthem brings tears to his eyes, it was an easy choice – Samoa.

Paulo joins a long line of rugby league stars who have chosen to represent their island nations in the Rugby League World Cup and in doing so has knocked back the Kangaroos offer.

This also means that the upcoming Rugby League World Cup which is just over 40 days away, could be more interesting and evenly contested than ever before.

Paulo has never represented Australia, but was considered a near certainty for selection for the tournament at the end of the year.

When Parramatta prop Junior Paulo was told that he could represent the nation whose national anthem brings tears to his eyes, it was an easy choice – Samoa. Picture: NSW Rugby League

“It’s been a tough one, I’ve been torn between the teams,” he said during an interview with 9 News.

“Gus Gould really hit the nail on the head when he said, ‘What nation do you cry for when you sing the anthem?

“That plays a big part for me, and for me that’s being proud of my home, and that’s Samoa.”

NRL stars Josh Papalii and Brian To’o gave similar reasons when they opted to play for Samoa. According to 28-year-old Paulo, he wants to repay the sacrifices made by the generations before him that enabled him to succeed.

“I’ve got my two grandmothers, who are both overseas and while they’re still alive I want to be able to make them proud,” he said.

When Parramatta prop Junior Paulo was told that he could represent the nation whose national anthem brings tears to his eyes, it was an easy choice – Samoa. Picture: Paramatta Eels

“I want to be able to inspire the next kid who is coming through the ranks and will be at home, or whether they’re in the islands watching that World Cup thinking they want to be able to represent their country,” he said.

Samoa are in Group A with hosts England, France and Greece. On paper, Samoa look to be a tough team and with the inclusion of players from the Super League, they look to have a good chance of making it to the quarterfinal stages.

 

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