Penrith Panthers and New South Wales State of Origin star winger Brian To'o has revealed that he will turn out for Samoa at the 2022 Rugby League World Cup in what is a major coup for the island nation.
The gun winger, who has averaged 186 metres per game for the Panthers this season to go with scoring six times in nine appearances, has been one of the game's best wingers over the last 24 months.
While one of the first picked players for the Blues, and part of Penrith's superstar backline, the dispute over where he was going to play at the World Cup was always going to carry intrigue.
Speaking on Triple M Radio on Saturday, To'o revealed he had made his decision, with the opportunity to represent his people and family meaning more than what it would have meant to pull on a green and gold jersey for Mal Meninga's Kangaroos.
“Definitely, I’ll be playing in the world cup and I am going to be putting on the red and blue jersey of Samoa,” he said.
“I’ve committed to Samoa.
“Obviously it will mean the world for me to put on the jersey and its a massive opportunity to be play for Australia but my people and my family mean more.”
In what is a blow for the Australians, it now means two first-choice backs in Tom Trbojevic and Brian To'o won't be available, with Dane Gagai, Latrell Mitchell and Josh Addo-Carr likely to be in the back five, while the allegiance of potential selections Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow (Samoa), Murray Taulagi (Samoa), Stephen Crichton (Samoa), Xavier Coates (Papua New Guinea), Kotoni Staggs (Tonga) and Daniel Tupou (Tonga) is yet to be decided.