The excitement is building in Samoa ahead of the historic Super Rugby clash between the Auckland Blues and the Queensland Reds at Apia Park on Friday 2 June.
All Blacks and Blues senior players who are in the country to promote the game, Jerome Kaino and Steven Luatua, say they cannot wait to run out on to the Apia Park paddock for the occasion.
“It has been a long time coming,” Blues captain, Kaino told the Samoa Observer yesterday.
“I think we should’ve had this a long time ago with the influence that Samoan players have in Super Rugby. Look at all the teams; there are a lot of Polynesian boys in there."
“It’s fitting that we need to bring the game to Samoa. It’s a step in the right direction and hopefully we can have more games here in the future.”
Luatua echoed the same sentiment.
“I think it’s great for a lot of the guys who have Samoan heritage to reconnect with their roots and families they have here,” he said. “I want to offer a special thanks to Bluesky for sponsoring us.”
Speaking of sponsorship, Bluesky welcomed Kaino and Luatua at their Matafele.
Bluesky Samoa is the proud and official presenting partner of the first Investec Super Rugby Championship game to be held at Apia.
The company’s sponsorship is a reflection of Bluesky's continued sponsorship of sports in Samoa, a media statement said (see page 2).
Kaino said their short trip is to drum up excitement for the game.
“Our trip is to mainly get the word out about our game in June. But also to do work with Blueksy, and partners but mainly to get the excitement out there and the energy.”
Aside from the Blues, Kaino was asked if he would consider playing for Samoa.
“They need to change the rules if we were to play for Samoa again,” he said, adding with a smile “that’s if they want an old man.”
Kaino said the trip is bigger than a publicity tour.
“I always visit Samoa for personal reasons,” he said.
As for rugby, he said there are opportunities for partnerships to grow the game.
“We know Mahonri Schwalger quite well. So with his Academy, hopefully we can come in the future and create a partnership and help the next generation of players in Samoa."
“I think there’s a lot of room for improvement."
“I think there are a lot of players out there that can put their hands up. There’s a lot of untouched talent playing overseas but playing in Samoa as well. There’s a lot of development to be done but I think we’re heading in the right direction.”