Junior Paulo has handed the Kangaroos a major blow as the Parramatta prop confirmed he will play for Samoa at the World Cup.
The 28-year-old male is yet to represent Australia at international level but has nine State of Origin games for New South Wales under his belt.
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Paulo also has nine caps for Samoa to his name and although he was “torn” between the blue shirt of the nation or the green and gold of Australia, it was a quote from Phil Gould that ultimately swayed his decision.
“Gus Gould really hit the nail on the head when he said, ‘What nation do you cry for when you sing the anthem,’” Paulo told 9News.
“That plays a big part for me, and for me that’s being proud of my home, and that’s Samoa.”
Paulo joins Canberra forward Josh Papalii as well as Panthers duo Brian To’o and Jarome Luai as NRL stars who have confirmed they will represent Samoa instead of Australia at the World Cup.
The Parramatta star also hopes that by not choosing to play for the Kangaroos, it could inspire several youngsters to be proud of their home nation when it comes to representative footy.
“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,” Paulo said.
The Blues star is also hoping that by playing for Samoa, he can make his family proud as punch.
“I’ve got my two grandmothers, who are both overseas and while they’re still alive I want to make them proud,” Paulo said.