Photos and text from the RNZ Pacific team
Toa Samoa supporters gathered in cities around the world to watch the Rugby League World Cup final against Australia.
And most stayed to celebrate the team’s momentous run to the final and show their pride for the team and the nation.
Toa Samoa scored two tries in the Rugby League World Cup final in Manchester, but were unable to stop a dominant Australian side from winning the title 30-10 for the third time in a row.
In New Zealand’s Ōtara Town Centre in South Auckland hundreds of people gathered waving Samoan flags.
Community leader Jerome Mika said despite the defeat, Samoa had still won.
“I’m feeling so proud of the boys, it’s just awesome to see our nation reach the final of the World Cup. They’ve just put us on the map and I’m really, really proud of them. There’s a lot of pride in the Samoan community here,” he said.
“We’ve won the hearts and minds of our people.”
Mika said Samoa’s success would inspire a future generation of rugby league players.
In Samoa, a large group also spent the morning in Apia Park with events starting around midnight. Many stayed on until the final whistle.
Toa Samoa fans in Ōtara show their support. Video: Fans-Samoa
The Samoa Observer reports that the team was thanked the “usual way” with cars driving along Apia and flying the national flag.