“It was always a dream when I first made the All Blacks“, Kaino said on playing in Samoa.
“In taking a critical view maybe the positive spinoffs won’t be about the economic gains so much – it might instead be about less tangible but just as valuable things such as goodwill, pride, the relationship between New Zealand and Samoa which values the historical and contemporary connections with trade, aid, labour migration and sport”, she says.
Captain Richie McCaw, prop Tony Woodcock and hooker Keven Mealamu will all run onto Apia Park against Samoa for the first and likely last time, with all expected to retire from top-class rugby after the global tournament in England. On the flip side about half of Samoa’s original 27-man squad for this match were born in New Zealand. When you consider that backline might not be New Zealand’s first choice, you can understand why they are World Cup favourites.
Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’lele Malielegaoi has declared a half-day holiday to mark the historic occasion with a raft of public activities including a street parade for the All Blacks.
Apia Park will hold 8000 for tomorrow’s test match but numerous locals will head here to government plaza to watch the game on a big screen.
The tribute boxing bout came as excitement reaches a crescendo in Samoa ahead of the Test match. Some coconuts have even been painted to resemble rugby balls.
Members of All Blacks management reckoned some of the tests on the South African high veldt may have gone close to 30C in recent years but with nothing like the mugginess of Apia.
He described Samoa as an “ideal challenge” to start their build up and has taken no chances with his forwards selection naming an eight with a combined 634 caps. It was tough because in November we didn’t know how the union were going to react, especially with me and Daniel Leo coming out with a lot of stuff.
“Whether we’re creating a banner the size of a jet aircraft, painting aircraft “all black” or flying our national team around the globe, we are proud to be supporting the All Blacks both on the ground and in the air”, says Mr Tod.
New Zealand is favoured to win the match, having never lost to Samoa in five previous tests.
The All Blacks’ pack then exerted pressure on the Samoan scrum, causing it to collapse and allowing Carter an opportunity to extend the lead with a 50-metre penalty.
Manu Samoa Assistant Coach Namulauulu Alama Ieremia.
“We really appreciate the support of sponsors like Air New Zealand who help boost the profile of rugby and ensure the game remains financially healthy so we can continue to invest in rugby at all levels, retain our best players and produce winning teams”.