• All Blacks to face Samoa

    The All Blacks will play their first-ever Test in the Pacific Islands next year as they prepare for the World Cup in England.

    The Test against the Samoans will take place in the capital city of Apia on 8 July, just a couple days after the conclusion of the Super Rugby tournament. Should a New Zealand side compete in the final, the All Blacks side may have a different complexion from the current team competing in the Rugby Championship.

    All Blacks coach Steve Hansen dismissed the suggestion that the All Blacks could turn out a 'B' team for the historic fixture.

    'If we've got two teams in the [Super Rugby] final, well we'll still have an All Blacks team going to play Samoa and it'll be the best team we can pick and they'll be expected to play like All Blacks,' Hansen told the New Zealand Herald following the announcement. 'We've been through all the things that could possibly happen and we still think we can go there and represent New Zealand the way they should be represented.'

    Despite drawing on the talent of the surrounding islands, the All Blacks have never played a Test in Samoa, Fiji or Tonga. Commercial considerations have often proven a stumbling block in the past, while in an unprecedented move from the NZRU, the All Blacks will only have their costs covered, rather than turn a profit for the match in Samoa.

    The last time the two teams met was in New Plymouth in 2008, where the All Blacks ran in 15 tries on their way to a 101-14 decimation of the islanders.

    Photo: Phil Walter/Getty Images