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Manu Samoa to host All Blacks for historic Apia Test

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allblacks.com     10 Sep 2014     Getty Images

New Zealand Rugby and the Samoa Rugby Union today confirmed details around the much anticipated match which will mark the first encounter on Samoan soil between the two teams.

The Test match agreement was signed at a media conference at New Zealand Rugby House in Wellington this afternoon by New Zealand Rugby Chairman Brent Impey and Samoa Rugby Chairman, Hon Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi.

The match will kick off at Apia Park at 3pm (2pm NZT).

“This will be a wonderful celebration of the rich rugby connections and proud history that bind New Zealand and Samoa,” said Brent Impey.

“We know how much rugby means to Samoans and New Zealanders so to take the All Blacks to Apia will be a huge moment for all of us.

“Importantly, we are not only honouring rugby’s Pacific heritage, we are also providing players with a meaningful Test as part of our plan to ensure the All Blacks are in the best possible shape to win in England in 2015.”

The Samoa Rugby Union welcomed confirmation of the match. Chairman Hon Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi said:

“It will be an historic occasion to have the All Blacks play in Samoa in July 2015.

"The rugby supporters of both countries will savour a unique event in Apia as the Manu Samoa will face the number one team in the world at home. It is a match that will be watched by millions of viewers as we intend to broadcast it live to the rest of the world.

“I also challenge other Tier One Nations to come and play the Manu Samoa at home.”

The All Blacks will travel to Samoa with the support of the team’s airline partner Air New Zealand.

“We’re excited to be on board supporting the country’s favourite team as they take on Samoa in one of the most popular Pacific Island destinations that Air New Zealand operates to,” said Air New Zealand Chief Executive Christopher Luxon.

“To celebrate the historic game the airline and All Blacks Tours will also offer tour packages including the opportunity for fans to travel with the team to Apia.”

Impey said the Test would build on the strong support New Zealand Rugby had given Pacific rugby over many decades.

“We have been sending national teams to the islands since the 1930s. The Maori All Blacks have visited 13 times and played 65 matches. We also provide a variety of support to island nations through our work with the Federation of Oceania Rugby Unions.

“We hope this Test match will excite fans, inspire young Samoan players and further raise the profile of rugby across the Pacific Islands.”

All Blacks welcome Test
All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen said: “2015 is a massive year for us and this historic Test is an ideal way for us to begin our preparations for the Investec Rugby Championship and Rugby World Cup 2015 in earnest.

“Many players in our team have strong ties to Samoa so this Test will be a great occasion for all of us. It will only enhance the links between our two countries.

“There is also a lot of respect for Manu Samoa and playing them at home will make this a great challenge - one we will all look forward to.”

IRB promises support for historic match
International Rugby Board Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: "The IRB is delighted that for the first time New Zealand will play a full international match in Samoa next year. It will be an historic day for the game in both those countries and an exciting occasion for every rugby fan in Samoa who will get to see their team host the famous All Blacks.

"The IRB is excited to be involved and as part of our ongoing support of Pacific Island rugby, we will be assisting with operations and financial support to the Samoan Rugby Union through our high-performance investment programme to deliver the fixture."

Broadcast details will be confirmed at a later date.

Official travel packages from All Blacks Tours are now available at www.allblackstours.com