9 Jul 2015

Covering Manu Samoa test 'a privilege'

7:24 am on 9 July 2015

Witnessing history outside of New Zealand is a privilege not many of us get to see live.

Manu Samoa perform Siva Tau

Manu Samoa perform Siva Tau Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Coming to Samoa to cover the historic test between the All Blacks and Manu Samoa was just that, a privilege.

It was hyped as a well overdue battle between two rugby loving nations.

What transpired was something I'm sure no New Zealanders or Samoans would have predicted.

Every catch, every run, every big hit was met with one of the loudest roars I've ever heard.

The All Blacks may have been welcomed with a warm reception when they arrived in Samoa earlier this week, but come kick off, the 8000 strong crowd at Apia Park showed their true colours.

A sea of blue and red filled the stands and if the supporters couldn't make it into the ground, they flocked to any spot where they could catch a glimpse of their national heroes taking on the reigning world champions.

It was reassuring seeing such passion and dedication from a rugby mad nation, coming from one myself.

You could see on the faces of the fans how much this game meant to them, rugby is clearly more than a game to Samoans, it's a way of life.

While the score never really went Manu Samoa's way, the support remained strong.

When All Black debutante George Moala found his way to the try line for a five pointer, an almighty groan could be heard as far away as downtown Apia.

But that didn't stop fans from cheering on Samoa, no matter the scoreline or what was happening on field, the supporters kept faith.

That faith was rewarded in the last quarter of the game when loose forward Alafoti Faosiliva barrelled his way past the All Blacks' defensive line for five points.

Seeing the crowd's reaction, I expected to see similar scenes to Eden Park during the 1992 Cricket World Cup, but alas, they stayed seated.

Getting back to within six points of the All Blacks, the crowd managed to find another gear of intensity which didn't wane until the final whistle.

Despite the result going the way of the All Blacks, the Samoan side and country can hold their heads up high for giving the World Champs a mighty scare before embarking on the World Cup later this year.

Ending 25-16 a score no one expected but everyone should admire.

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