The task of confronting the mighty world champion All Blacks on their home soil is enormous but the Manu Samoa is not fazed by it at all.
In fact, according to the Head Coach, Namulauulu Alama Ieremia, the men in blue cannot wait to run out to Eden Park tomorrow night for their first test match in 2017.
Namulauulu yesterday named a highly experienced team to be captained by veteran halfback, Kahn Fotuali’i.
He is confident in his selection’s ability to resist the home team.
“There’s no better measure of where you are as a team, than playing the All Blacks,” he told the Samoa Observer from the team’s Auckland base.
“They are the best in the world for a reason - there is never a weak All Black team so we need to play well.
“It will test some of the systems that we want to establish and it will also provide some insight into players and player combinations who have been given the first opportunity in this first test match.
Competition is healthy in the team, so players will need to make it count.”
The absence of regular captain, David Lemi and another experienced campaigner in Rey Lee Lo, due to injury is regrettable.
But Namulauulu believes there is enough class in the side to give the All Blacks a good run for their money. Tim Nanai Williams and debutant, Kieron Fonotia, will be a key duo.
And if five eighth, Tusi Pisi, is on song, it could provide plenty of entertainment for the Eden Park crowd.
The coach said the build up during the past week has been excellent and the team is a good frame of mind.
“Morale is high in the camp,” he said. “We have focussed on getting our game right so we can build momentum for the June July campaign.
“As a team, we have also drawn on the fantastic support here in New Zealand since we have arrived.
“We have had community and sponsor engagements throughout Auckland.
“To see a wave of blue jerseys at the Mangere Town Centre for the Welcoming Ceremony was amazing last Saturday morning.
“Equally the sold out fundraiser event on Saturday night was an indication of huge support for Manu Samoa.
From Super Rugby facilities to local Rugby Unions, clubs, local churches, councils and communities, the support has been overwhelming.
“It’s a humbling experience for the team and together with all the support from Samoa and around the world, this week has been special. It has definitely added huge value to our preparation.”