16 Jun 2017

Sport: Samoa to rely on experience against All Blacks

11:54 am on 16 June 2017

Samoa will lean on some experienced heads for tonight's Pasifika Challenge rugby test against the All Blacks in Auckland.

Toulouse prop Census Johnston will play his 60 test match tonight while Tusi Pisi is back in blue for the first time in 12 months.

Halfback Kahn Fotuali'i will captain his country for the first time in his 32nd international.

Tusi Pisi and Census Johnston are back in the Manu Samoa matchday squad.

Tusi Pisi and Census Johnston are back in the Manu Samoa matchday squad. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Fotuali'i said experience counts for a lot at test match level.

"We need that against top quality sides but it's also (we've) got some new guys coming through, which the likes of Tusi and Census they help mould those new guys coming through and kind of just show them the way and what they've learnt throughout the years," he said.

"So it's positive with having those guys there and also the young guys with bringing some energy."

Fotuali'i assumes the captaincy duties in place of injured winger David Lemi and said it's a special moment.

"Just being involved and then being able to play and start for our country, and also against the All Blacks, but a special privilege and honour to captain the side...so definitely looking forward to it but nothing really changes for me.

"The boys will lead within and I just hopefully try and do my part," he said.

Two years ago in Apia, Samoa proved a tough opponent for New Zealand, on the way to a 25-16 defeat.

Since 1993 the two sides have only met six times, the All Blacks coming out on top each time.

Samoa halfback Kahn Fotuali'i will lead the Manu against the All Blacks.

Samoa halfback Kahn Fotuali'i will lead the Manu against the All Blacks. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Fotuali'i said playing the All Blacks doesn't come around very often so while they need to do their jobs, they also need to enjoy the occasion.

"It's just exciting isn't it? Not too many opportunities you get to play against the All Blacks so the boys have been really excited about it," he said.

"There was a lot of information throughout the start of the week and sort of just sort of just knuckled down a little bit on that and just sort of bringing the excitement now, and we've spoken about the occasion and the emotions will take care of itself."

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