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Saturday, 20 September 2014

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Samoa call off rugby league clash with Cumbria

Cumbria's clash with Samoa scheduled for Whitehaven next weekend has been called off.

Samoa have pulled out of the tour, which was also to include matches against England Knights and Ireland, after their government withdrew funding.

The news is a massive blow to Cumbria, who had been working hard on preparation for the big match. Accommodation had been booked for the tourists and discounted tickets for the October 16 match were on sale for a week.

The RFL is now to probe all the reasons behind Samoa’s late withdrawal.

“The decision by Samoa to withdraw from the proposed tour is both surprising and very disappointing,” a Red Hall spokesman said.

“The Samoans were very keen to come to Europe and a lot of hard work and detailed planning has been taking place behind the scenes to make their matches against Cumbria, England Knights and Ireland both successful and memorable.

“We are working with the Rugby League International Federation to determine why Samoa changed their minds and will do all we practically can to minimise any damage this decision has caused.”

Cumbria had been hoping to build on the success of last October’s drawn game against England, when over 5,000 fans turned out at the Recre.

Samoa were yesterday rated sixth in the revamped world rankings, ahead of Wales, Scotland and Ireland. And Cumbrian fans might have expected to see the likes of Wigan trio Jeff Lima, Harrison Hansen and George Carmont in action. Samoa’s move has also left England Knights and Ireland with fixture gaps, which could present Cumbria with an opportunity.

It is believed county officials are now seeking to arrange a game against the Knights, a team packed with aspiring full internationals, which would prove attractive to fans.

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