TIM Lafai hopes to be a Devil to England’s World Cup final hopes – completing a remarkable comeback story.
The Samoa star went from working on construction sites around Sydney to being one of Super League’s biggest threats after Salford came calling.
Even at this World Cup, he was called in after his country’s 60-6 opening day hammering by England because of injuries.
Now he is one step from the final after Samoa pipped Pacific rivals Tonga 20-18. In front of him, though, will be friend and team-mate Kallum Watkins.
“It's a dream come true, especially to play with these young boys who are superstars of the NRL,” said centre Lafai, 31.
“It’s a real honour to be called back into camp having had a year off rugby – I am truly blessed. It means everything to pull on this blue jersey and represent my heritage.
“The highest of highest is getting married and having my four kids, nothing can beat that but this – getting this win and getting past the quarters – is definitely up there.
“This is probably the greatest achievement of my career. It is one thing to pull on this blue jersey but it's another one to make it past the quarters and to beat our rivals.”
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One thing that will not happen is England presuming they are already in the final. Samoa are a very different side than the one humbled at Newcastle, literally.
And Lafai insists the past will count for nothing – Matt Parish’s players believe they can win.
He added: “England are the favourites and they deserve it.
“They have every right to be favourites because they have been firing every game and even in the quarters they wiped Papua New Guinea away.
“But if we came into this campaign not believing we could win we wouldn't be here. The belief in this team grows every week and we are 100 per cent going into this next game confident.
“The past is the past, it is what it is and we have just got to move forward. It is going to be a tough battle against a top team that has been performing well but we have got to do our job and we go into it very confident.”
Lafai also hopes one or two English fans in Salford switch allegiance, claiming: “Hopefully all the Salford Red Devils out there will get behind Samoa!”
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