- All Blacks Test against Samoa confirmed for Friday 16 June at Eden Park in pre-DHL New Zealand Lions Series hit-out.
- The Test will be part of a double-header with Tonga to play Wales earlier in the evening and has been dubbed the “Pasifika Challenge.”
- Special ticket offer to the Pasifika Challenge and Blues v British & Irish Lions game announced.
- Pre-sale tickets for Team All Blacks supporters available Thursday 11 May and Friday 12 May with public sales available from Monday 15 May.
New Zealand Rugby (NZR) has announced the Pasifika Challenge double-header at Eden Park on Friday 16 June that will see the All Blacks play Samoa in a pre-DHL New Zealand Lions Series hit-out, preceded by Tonga playing Wales.
The Tonga-Wales Test will kick off at 5.30pm, followed by the All Blacks-Samoa Test at 8.00pm. The double header will be broadcast live and exclusive on SKY TV.
NZR Chief Strategy and Operations Officer Nigel Cass said the unique night of rugby was an exciting opportunity to showcase Pacific Island rugby.
“The Pasifika Challenge promises to be a great night for Pacific rugby and the Pacific community in New Zealand. Auckland is home to the largest Pacific Island population in the world, and to have Samoa and Tonga playing Test matches back to back in an unprecedented double-header will be something unique so we hope the Pacific community turns up en masse, which will contribute to the special occasion.
“After the Test between Tonga and Wales was moved to Auckland it made sense to combine it with the All Blacks hit-out against Samoa and turn the occasion into a Pacific double-header.
“We are putting the call out to all rugby fans to get in behind this special event. We want a vibrant and raucous stadium for both the double-header and the Blues game against the British & Irish Lions, which is why we are providing a special ticketing deal of $147 for both fixtures.”
All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen reiterated the sentiment.
“It’s great that we’re going to play Samoa. Along with Tonga and Wales, it’s going to be a wonderful evening where you’ve got Pasifika rugby on show and Welsh rugby and New Zealand rugby. It allows us to fill a need for ourselves as we need a game to prepare for the Lions and also give something back to Pasifika rugby.”
Click here to watch Steve Hansen talking about the Pasifika Challenge.
Manu Samoa Head Coach Namulauulu Alama Ieremia said the opportunity to play the All Blacks slotted perfectly into their June schedule.
“The addition of this match has been perfectly timed for us. It gives us a great build-up for our June and July internationals.
“We know from hosting the All Blacks in 2015 that New Zealand has a special connection with Samoa and with Samoan rugby. We welcome the opportunity to give our players some much-needed Test rugby, as well as a rare opportunity to play the best team in the world.
“We look forward to coming to Eden Park where hopefully our friends from all around the Pacific will help to make this feel as much of a home game for Samoa and Tonga as it is for the All Blacks.”
Tongan Rugby CEO Fe’ao Vunipola said, “On behalf of the Tongan Rugby Union’s President, Hon Samuela Akilsi Pohiva and the Board, I would like to convey to New Zealand Rugby and World Rugby, Tonga Rugby Union’s sincere thanks and gratitude for the arrangement to host our match against Wales. To be involved in a double-header with the All Blacks playing Samoa is a fantastic opportunity.”
“It’s a great honour for us as a nation to be taking part in the Pasifika Challenge,” said Wales Head Coach Robin McBryde. “We have a huge amount of respect for rugby’s Pacific heritage, so to be able to compete in a double-header celebrating that is very special. It should be a fantastic occasion.”
Ticket pre-sales for New Zealand Rugby Volunteers and Team All Blacks Members will be available for purchase on Thursday 11 and Friday 12 May. General public sales will open on Monday 15 May.