30 Jan 2017

First Super Rugby match to be played in Samoa

12:38 pm on 30 January 2017

The Blues will take an historic first Super Rugby Championship match to Samoa in June.

The Blues coach Tana Umaga.

The Blues coach Tana Umaga. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

In Auckland this morning the franchise and Samoan Prime Minister and Chairman of the Samoan Rugby Union announced the Blues' home game against the Reds will be played in Apia on Friday June 2.

It is the first Super Rugby match to be played in Samoa and coincides with Samoa's 55th Independence Celebrations.

Blues Chief Executive Michael Redman said the Super Rugby draw this year allowed them the opportunity to take a home game overseas.

"When we assessed all of our options within our region, taking this game to Samoa became an obvious choice."

"Our Blues region is home to around 150,000 proud Samoans and we have 15 players in our team with Samoan heritage, along with our head coach Tana Umaga."

Samoan prime minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi said they were delighted to host the Blues as they planned to build on the successful hosting of the All Blacks in Apia in 2015.

"This will attract some great tourism and overseas activity... we hope in future to attract more select games to Samoa in our Rugby Union field," said Tuilaepa.

Blues coach Tana Umaga said the game will be an emotional one for him and his players, but also an extremely important game in terms of the Super Rugby Championship.

"As someone with Samoa heritage, I am very proud to be part of the first Super Rugby match played in Samoa and of course a number of our team have family members living there," said Umaga.

SANZAAR CEO Andy Marinos said it is fully supportive of the further development on Super Rugby in the Pacific.

"We recognise that Samoa like the rest of the Pacific Islands is an important geographical part of the rugby landscape in the southern hemisphere and the rugby talent and the support for the game within the region is amazing."

It will be the first major rugby match to be played under the revamped floodlights at Apia Park.