8 Jul 2015

Samoan All Blacks not under added pressure

9:33 am on 8 July 2015

The All Blacks captain Richie McCaw says the players of Samoan heritage in the New Zealand side feel excited rather than nervous about playing in front of a passionate local crowd in today's historic test in Apia.

The All Blacks' hooker Keven Mealamu performs the Haka.

The All Blacks' hooker Keven Mealamu performs the Haka. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

It's the first time the All Blacks have played in Samoa with the test to be contested under temperatures forecast to reach 30 degrees.

Both teams received rapturous welcomes yesterday from fervent rugby fans across the country and McCaw says the All Blacks Samoan players are feeling the love rather than any added pressure.

"The chance for them to play here in front of a lot of their family and relatives I think they're probably excited more than anything so whether that puts any extra pressure on I think just pulling on the All Black jersey and the expectation of what's required is there regardless so I think it will be exactly the same (as any other All Black game)."

However McCaw is wary of his side's historically slow starts and knows a vocal Apia crowd will be awaiting them.

Today's test is the first between Samoa and the All Blacks in Samoa and also marks the start of New Zealand's journey towards their World Cup defence in England later this year.

Given the occasion McCaw says they can't afford to be off their game.

"That's probably one of the things we haven't got quite right at times is getting into from the start and matching whatever the opposition brings, so when you play a team that'll come out with a bit of passion and a home crowd then sure we want to make sure we match them and don't let them get their tails up."

The test kicks off at 2pm, with wing George Moala the only debutant in the All Blacks starting XV.

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