There's no denying the weekend's games have further highlighted the uneven playing field for tier 2 nations, and the need for discussions around eligibility laws to change, but for Manu Samoa and 'Ikale Tahi fans on the night, it was about showing up for the love of their nations.
Samoa played the Māori All Blacks in the curtain raiser at Auckland's Mount Smart Stadium, before Tonga took on New Zealand, in preparation for their upcoming Rugby World Cup qualifying matches.
Esmeralda Lo Tam was one of more than 15 thousand people there to watch the double-header.
She said it was exciting for famillies to see Pasifika teams showcased alongside some of the best players in the world.
"You know whether it's Samoa, whether it's Tonga, whether it's Fiji, it's all about supporting our Pacific people, Pacific development and Pacific rugby," she said.
"I think playing international fixtures like this and being able to be showcased next to the All Blacks, the Māori All Blacks, right down to grassroots it's awesome and exciting for everyone."
Two penalty tries and a double for Jonah Lowe underpinned the Māori All Blacks 38-21 win on the night.
Despite losing their two game series against the Māori's, Manu Samoa fans were estatic to support their team on the field, after they were forced to play behind closed doors due to alert level restrictions in Wellington.
Faleaupu Faalavaau from the villages of Siufaga and Falelatai was donning the Manu Samoa jersey proudly cheering from the sidelines, but admits he was there for all the teams.
"Samoa, Tonga, Fiji, we are all Pasifika.. New Zealand, we live in New Zealand, so we support the New Zealand teams as well," he said.
"We've met a lot of friends and family that are here to support all teams, whatever team, because we are all from the Pacific."
Tu'uholoaki Vefekina travelled two and half hours from Tauranga with her husband and grandchildren to watch her younger cousin Viliami Taulani make his debut for 'Ikale Tahi.
A wave of emotion hit her, saying his parents were watching from Tonga, and they were there to support on behalf of the family.
"It's very special for me and my two grand daughters and my husband. My family, it doesn't matter if we [have to] come a long way, but we're happy to come and support him."
The All Blacks opened their 2021 campaign with a record 102-0 over an inexperienced Tonga side, scoring 16 tries against a team featuring 13 debutants, some picked from New Zealand club rugby sides due to player unavailability some through contract restrictions and others because of Covid-19 travel restrictions.
It was an unfair buildup for Tonga, but for 13 players it meant wearing the red jersey and representing their heritage for the very first time.
Nikolai Foliaki, was one of those 13 to make his debut, and was bombarded with hugs and kisses from a very proud family post-match.
His older brother, John-Paul Foliaki, said the game was never about the score.
"[This moment], it's for Tonga, it's for my brother, we're so proud of him and regardless of what the score was going to be, we're always going to be supporting Tonga," he said.
"The odds were stacked against us but the score was never the case, and you know that about Tonga, we're always mafana... it didn't really matter if we were playing the All Blacks, France, whoever.. we're here for Tonga."
It was hard to miss 'Ikale Tahi fan Simillani Talau, who was standing out in red, dancing amongst a group of All Blacks supporters.
He said he always knew New Zealand were going to win, but it didn't matter.
"I know the boys are no good [against the All Blacks] but I stay outside and sau, and dance, and sau [because] the love is big for my country, for Tonga," he said.
"Our team, our nation, they will try try and try, lose, lose and lose, they never give up, but one day they will win and beat the All Blacks."
While the game was heartbreaking to watch, it's a memory that players and famillies will cherish forever, leaving the stadium cheering, waving flags, proud, and their hearts full for the love of their country.