After the disappointing loss to Tonga last weekend, Toa Samoa has quietly snuck into Cairns, Australia, for their next game against Scotland.
And The Cairns Post reports that the players immediately headed for “one of Cairns’ most iconic restaurants” after a secret arrival.
Players including captain Frank Pritchard and five-eighth Joseph Paulo enjoyed lunch on the Esplanade at The Raw Prawn before jumping on the team bus to see the sights, having arrived late last night.
Members of the local Samoan community were not made aware the squad had arrived, in line with similar low-key arrivals to their home country pre-tournament and to New Zealand, where they played their first two matches.
Asked for an interview by the Post, Captain Pritchard insisted he would be happy to chat after he finished his lunch, but later referred us to team management.
But Joseph Paulo was happy to talk.
“We’re excited hey. Cairns, I love it. They’ve welcomed us so well,” he said.
“We’ve got to get ready for the climate change, that’s for sure, the weather.”
Samoa have lost both games of their campaign — 38-8 to New Zealand and 32-18 to Tonga — but can still make the quarterfinals if they beat Scotland on Saturday.
Fans will have their chance to meet the players in an official welcome on Wednesday from 4.30pm at Go Church, Manoora.