Ben Gardiner and Jamie Soward have been named as the new coaches for Samoa's men's and women's teams respectively.

Gardiner, a current assistant coach at the all-conquering Penrith Panthers, takes over from Matt Parish, who made the call to step down from the role at the end of the Rugby League World Cup.

That tournament saw Samoa make the final for the first time where they fell short against Australia.

Samoa will now look to take the challenge to both Australia and New Zealand in an upcoming tri-series, where they can continue to make a claim as the best Tier 2 international side in the world.

Their direct competition for that mantle - Tonga - plays a three-match Test series against England after the NRL season, and it's believed Tonga and Samoa could simply swap spots next year, meaning a big two-year period ahead for Samoa.

The women's side play a one-off Test against Fiji on October 15 in Port Moresby.

Soward has quickly become rated as one of the best coaches in the NRLW at the St George Illawarra Dragons, and is now on a two-year full-time contract with the club.

Gardiner, who has plenty of coaching experience having spent time at the Wests Tigers, South Sydney Rabbitohs, Cronulla Sharks, North Sydney Beats, New South Wales under-20s and New South Wales City Origin, said it was an honour to be taking over the Samoan men's job.

"It is a privilege and honour to be entrusted with the role of Head Coach for Toa Samoa," Gardiner said in a statement per

"It is a great opportunity to build connection and relationships as we move into a new era for Rugby league Samoa.

"Samoa has a rich rugby league heritage that connects us with culture & high performance, and I am committed to working tirelessly with our talented athletes to prepare them for the Pacific Championships.

"Together, we aim to make Samoa proud on the international stage."

Gardiner will be backed up by Nigel Vagana, Tony Puletua and Willie Poching.

Soward, on the other hand, is in his first coaching job with the Dragons - a club he guided to the 2010 NRL premiership - and has had success in previous seasons, although 2023 has seen the club miss the finals.

“It is an extreme honour and privilege to coach Fetu Samoa," Soward said.

"There is a large number of Polynesian women in the NRLW competition, and it's exciting to have many of these players represent Samoa.

"I am also looking forward to embracing the Samoan culture during this journey."