7 Jul 2014

Sport: Manu Samoa coach says top team would face All Blacks

2:41 pm on 7 July 2014

Manu Samoa coach Stephen Betham believes he will have all his top players available if a proposed test match against the All Blacks in Apia is confirmed.

New Zealand Rugby CEO Steve Tew says they're now confident the All Blacks will be able play a match in Samoa next year, although nothing has been finalised.

The World Champion have never played a Test in the Pacific Islands, and most recently played tests against Fiji and Tonga in 2011, and against Samoa in 2008.

Two month ago Tew said there was no room in their schedule to play a test in the Pacific.

He says they have since identified a couple of dates before the World Cup that could work and, after holding discussions with sponsors and the IRB, will now open talks with the Samoa Rugby Union.

Manu Samoa coach Stephen Betham says a July date would be a welcome addition to their preparations.

"We've asked for a test and if it does come true it's a good measure of where we will be at heading into the World Cup. That's when the Pacific Nations Cup is next year so most of the players will be released by then. It's just a matter of how far we will have to travel for the next game - because I think maybe some of the games will be in Canada - so it's just getting across from the Pacific to Canada will be the question".

Stephen Betham says aside from the Pacific Nations Cup, Samoa are considering playing up to two extra tests in the months leading up to the World Cup.