Mr Johnson, responsible for the management and development of playing surfaces at Hamilton’s Seddon Park and Waikato Stadium, flew out today with members of the All Blacks support crew to provide advice to Apia Park management ahead of the match.
New Zealand is favoured to win the match, having never lost to Samoa in five previous tests. Can you imagine Canada doing the same?
Sean Murray, the Council’s General Manager of Events and Economic Development, says New Zealand Rugby’s request for Mr Johnson’s expertise is a reflection of his enormous knowledge and sought-after skills.
Meanwhile The All Blacks will leave Samoa confident the test has served its goal in the build up to the Rugby World Cup.
Samoa is expected to come to a standstill on Wednesday when the All Blacks launch their World Cup preparations by playing in the rugby-obsessed island nation for the first time.
Moala scored his try when he latched on to Carter’s kick, giving his side a 16-point advantage before Pisi brought the hosts back into the game with two successful penalties.
New Zealand extended its record against Samoa to six wins from six matches in the eagerly-anticipated match which prompted the government to call a half-day national holiday to allow people to watch.
A George Moala try, eight minutes into the second-half, looked to have settled the contest.
While the match was intensely physical and compelling, it lacked the real spectacle some had hoped for, and was often interrupted by the whistle of South African referee Jaco Peyper, who blew for 13 penalties in the first half alone.
The team heads home this afternoon, with the next test against Argentina on Friday week.
Otago Polytechnic masters student John Eteuati said he played rugby with Samoa’s captain, Ofisa Treviranus, in Apia and knew several other players in the match.
If he gets a chance in the Samoan Test and can nail his role, it would be a step in the right direction for him as the demands of the game had changed since his last act for the side – kicking the ball to touch to end the 2011 World Cup final. I take my hat off to (Samoa).
And, boy, is the nation of Samoa thrilled to finally be receiving them.
“It’s great to be going over to Samoa and it is great to be kicking off this year”.
They began to take control and closed to 22-16 with 15 minutes remaining to play through a converted try from an incredible boilover, before a late Dan Carter penalty extended the All Blacks buffer.