The Auckland Blues team is confident their late arrival for tonight’s historical first Super rugby fixture in Samoa will not hamper their chances of recording a win against the Queensland Reds.
The Blues touched down at Faleolo International Airport yesterday afternoon and headed straight to the Park for their Captain’s run.
Their opponents, the Queensland Reds, have enjoyed a week in Samoa – their presence in schools and among the community has already won them plenty of admirers and new fans.
Whether that will translate to supporters at the park tonight remains to be seen as the Samoa Observer understand ticket sales for the match have been slow.
But the Blues mean business and they are here to win.
The players were welcomed by Miss Samoa, Priscilla Olano and her team from the Samoa Tourism Authority.
Senior player and flanker, Steven Luatua, said it has taken a while but the Blues are excited to be here for the occasion.
“It feels great to be finally here,” he said.
“It’s pretty hot already and the boys are sweating but the weather’s still great.”
The team did not have much time to waste.
They immediately piled on their team bus and already in training shorts, headed straight to the Park.
“We’ve still got to train so as soon as we get loaded up then we’ll be hitting the fields.”
As for the occasion, Luatua said he hopes tonight is the first of many similar fixtures to come.
“We’ve got a good relationship with Samoa and the Reds and we will continue to have super rugby games here in Samoa. I know it’s a good initiative and hopefully we get some good points.
“We’re looking forward to a great match.”
The Blues are coming off a draw against the Chiefs last week and Luatua said they want to end the season on a high.
“We’re so glad to be a part of a historical occasion and to be here in Samoa.
Thank you so much to the people of Samoa, looking forward to seeing you tonight.”
Six All Blacks are included in the Blues squad for the match.