Premiership-winning Penrith Panthers duo Jarome Luai and Brian To'o have revealed how the 2017 Tongan revolution inspired them to make a pact to replicate that rise for Samoa.

The Tongan team were the surprise packet of the most recent tournament after Jason Taumalolo led a long list of players who opted out of representing Australia or New Zealand to play for their Tongan heritage.

The team came within one game of a World Cup final, and inspired the Western Sydney-based duo to create a similar movement among Samoan players.

They've succeeded, too, with a host of Samoan heritage players heeding the call, including a number of Panthers teammates.

It leaves Samoa with one of the most dangerous-looking teams in the competition, and one possibly capable of going even further than Tonga's incredible semi-final run.

“We're obviously inspired by what Tonga did and the way they were playing for their jersey,” To'o told

“It was more than just a game, it meant something to them. They were playing for their people and their country. It's something that drives us to play for Samoa.

“I just really want to replicate what Tonga did. Imagine if Samoa could do that, it would change the game.”

Samoa will get the first chance to show what they're capable of on the biggest stage possible, taking on host nation England in the tournament opener. While a good crowd is expected to support the home team, the sudden hype around the Pacific nation has organisers hoping for a audience of 40,000.

“The first match against England will be mad,” To'o continued.

“It's something we're really looking forward to.”

Unlike To'o, who only represented the island nation once in 2019 prior to his rapid rise, Luai will enter his second World Cup after representing Samoa in 2017 – but he's just as excited as his Panthers' teammate after the last few months.

PENRITH, AUSTRALIA - JULY 13: Jarome Luai of the Panthers is tackled during the round 18 NRL match between the Panthers and the Sharks at Panthers Stadium on July 13, 2018 in Penrith, Australia. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

“It will be a good test for us to see how we go against one of the top dogs of the world,” Luai said.

“I've got an idea of how passionate England are about their sports and about their people as well, so it will be a crazy atmosphere to be a part of.

“I think there's a good pool of talent in the Samoa team, so we have a good chance against one of the top teams.

“We're probably in the same boat as Tonga in terms of just wanting to represent the motherland and commit because we can build something special.

“It would mean a lot to us personally and we know what kind of effect it would have in the country and for Samoans everywhere if we can do something special at this World Cup.”

To'o's decision to turn away from Australia despite his sudden arrival on Mal Meninga's radar was the catalyst that started the surge of players opting to represent the nation at this year's tournament.

“I think some of the boys were a bit indecisive,” To'o said.

“I was really happy with what I decided, and I think it spread. Word got around quick and it was cool to see the other boys commit as well.

“I made the first move by deciding my allegiance and a few of the boys followed, but we said it was up to each player and no matter whether they chose Samoa or elsewhere we'd support each other.”

Samoa take on England in the tournament opener this weekend. Australian fans can catch the contest at 12.30am (AEDT) on October 16.

For Samoan fans, that game will be broadcast at 2.30am local.