Manu Samoa Rugby Team To Compete Against NZ All Blacks In Auckland

Pasifika Challenge to include Wales vs Tonga test at Eden Park

APIA, Samoa (Samoa Observer, May 9, 2017) – New Zealand Rugby (NZR) has announced a “Pasifika Challenge” double header at Eden Park on Friday 16 June that will see the All Blacks play Samoa in a pre-DHL New Zealand Lions Series hit-out, preceded by Tonga playing Wales in what will be a showcase of Pacific Island rugby.

The Tonga-Wales Test will kick off at 5.30pm, followed by the All Blacks-Samoa Test at 8.00pm. The double header will be broadcast live and exclusive on SKY TV.

NZR Chief Strategy and Operations Officer Nigel Cass said the unique night of rugby was an exciting opportunity to showcase Pacific Island rugby.

“The Pasifika Challenge promises to be a great night for Pacific rugby and the Pacific community in New Zealand. Auckland is home to the largest Pacific Island population in the world, and to have Samoa and Tonga playing Test matches back to back in an unprecedented doubleheader will be something unique so we hope the Pasifika community turns up en masse, which will contribute to the special occasion.

“After the Test between Tonga and Wales was moved to Auckland it made sense to combine it with the All Blacks hit-out against Samoa and turn the occasion into a Pacific double-header.

“We are putting the call out to all rugby fans to get in behind this special event. We want a vibrant and raucous stadium for both the double-header and the Blues game against the British & Irish Lions, which is why we are providing a special ticketing deal of $147 for both fixtures.”

All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen reiterated the sentiment.

“It’s great that we’re going to play Samoa. Along with Tonga and Wales it’s going to be a wonderful evening where you’ve got Pasifika rugby on show and Welsh rugby and New Zealand rugby. It allows us to fill a need for ourselves as we need a game to prepare for the Lions and also give something back to Pasifika rugby.”

Manu Samoa Head Coach Namulauulu Alama Ieremia said the opportunity to play the All Blacks slotted perfectly into their June schedule.

“The addition of this match has been perfectly timed for us as we were already due to assemble.

“We know from hosting the All Blacks in 2015 that New Zealand has a special connection with Samoa and with Samoan rugby. We welcome the opportunity to give our players some much needed Test rugby, as well as rare opportunity to play the best team in the world.

“We look forward to coming to Eden Park where hopefully our friends from all around the Pacific will help to make this feel as much of a home game for Samoa and Tonga as it is for the All Blacks.”

"It's a great honour for us as a nation to be taking part in the Pasifika Challenge," said Wales head coach Robin McBryde. "We have a huge amount of respect for rugby's Pacific heritage, so to be able to compete in a double-header celebrating that is very special. It should be a fantastic occasion."

Samoa Observer
Copyright © 2017 Samoa Observer. All Rights Reserved

Rate this article: 
No votes yet

Add new comment