Sao: I’m Ready For The Big Dance

Sao: I’m Ready For The Big Dance

The 30-year-old will savour the moment to play in a major final

Club News

Hull FC will be represented in tomorrow’s Rugby League World Cup Final and Ligi Sao couldn’t be more proud.

Sao scored a key try in Samoa’s dramatic 27-26 semi-final triumph over host nation England last Saturday, setting up an Old Trafford meeting with Australia in tomorrow’s Final.

Samoa, making their first Rugby League World Cup Final appearance, are aiming to become just the fourth nation to be crowned champions of the international tournament since its inauguration in 1954.

But they will have to de-throne bookies’ favourites Australia, who are hoping to make it 12 World Cup titles.

Nonetheless, Sao insists tomorrow will be a special day for the nation of Samoa.

“It’s such a special feeling knowing that we are one of the final two teams standing in the competition,” Sao told

“Making history and seeing the passion our supporters have, both over here in England and back home in Samoa and New Zealand, makes all the hard work worth it.

“We’re a small little island, so I think we’re definitely punching above our weight,” he joked.

“But I’m buzzing for it and I’m ready for the big dance tomorrow.”

It’s been a whirlwind few weeks for the 30-year-old, who was a late call-up to Matt Parish’s side due to Luciano Leilua dropping out at the eleventh hour.

Sao wasn’t involved in the first round for Samoa, but came in to play in the back-row in their second match against Greece at the Keepmoat Stadium.

He has kept his place in the squad since, thanks to his outstanding efforts, and he says the opportunity to feature so regularly has been beyond his dreams.

“It’s funny because before the comp I was speaking to my partner and I said all I wanted to do was to play just one game for Samoa,” he said.

“All I wanted to do was pull that blue jersey on one more time. To have played a few games at the World Cup and now preparing for a Final is crazy and sometimes you just have to pinch yourself.

“I’m so grateful for the opportunity and I knew I had to take it with both hands – you never know where that opportunity will take you.

“I was so honoured to have been involved against England in the semi-final last week. It was surreal. I took myself upstairs and jumped in the ice bath and then went to see the kids and family afterwards.

“It was a proud moment for me and for our nation.”

Sao is one of only three Betfred Super League representatives in Samoa’s 19-man squad for tomorrow’s Final, alongside Salford Red Devils duo Tim Lafai and Ken Sio.

However, there are plenty of familiar faces around camp for Sao, through his connections with Manly Sea Eagles and New Zealand Warriors.

“It’s been nothing but good vibes in camp. One of the most enjoyable things about this whole World Cup experience has been spending time with so many good people,” he explained.

“I’ve been with my roommate for six weeks now, so I’ve got to know Kelma Tuilagi really well. He’s a young back-rower at Manly and he’s a really good kid.

“It’s been good to catch up with a lot of people from back home. People like Chanel Harris-Tavita and Joseph Suaalii have been great to catch up with. But it’s been great catching up with everyone.”