Samoa plays against Tonga in a PNC match last month in Apia. Photo: Moller Images
The Prime Minister of Samoa, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegao, has confirmed that the All Blacks will face Samoa in Apia on July 8, 2015.
The Samoan leader revealed the news on his weekly radio programme that a letter confirming the fixture had been received from the NZRU.
The fixture, to be played on a Wednesday, will be the first between the two countries ever to be played in Samoa.
Tuilaepa added that renovations would be carried out on Apia Park ahead of next year’s fixture, with help from overseas.
Given the timing of the fixture, it’s likely to be used as a warm-up match before the Rugby Championship begins, in a busy year before the Rugby World Cup in England.
All Blacks play Samoa in 2008. Photo: Sky Sports
New Zealand will play a Test match in Samoa for the first time next year in preparation for the Rugby World Cup, according to reports.
The NZ Herald have revealed that an agreement is in place to stage the fixture probably in late July next year.
The NZRU has come under huge pressure to play a Test for the first time in the Pacific Islands, after recent matches in Hong Kong and the upcoming clash against the USA in Chicago this November.
Flyhalf Tusi Pisi will be the key player for Manu Samoa today in Apia. Photo: Planet Rugby
After rusty performances last weekend, both Samoa and Italy will be out to prove a point when they do battle in Apia today.
Tonga shocked Samoa in Apia, when they claimed a late 18-18 draw, and Italy’s three-Test tour got off to a poor start when they suffered a 25-14 defeat to Fiji in Suva.
Apart from that draw against Tonga, Samoa – albeit without several of their overseas-based players – also suffered a 33-14 defeat to Japan in Tokyo last month.
They also faced Tonga with several first-choice players on the bench but have recalled world class Northampton Saints duo Kahn Fotuali’i and George Pisi to their back-line while London Irish bruiser Ofisa Treviranus Saracens prop James Johnston and Clermont hooker Ti’i Paulo also return to the run-on side to bolster the pack.