It’s no coincidence that we’ve chosen to bring the first-ever Investec Super Rugby match to Samoa, considering our long and proud kinship with the rugby-mad country.
As well as the Blues region being home to around 150,000 Samoans, we currently have 15 players in our team with Samoan heritage, along with our head coach Tana Umaga, who said it was a privilege to bring this game to his ancestral homeland.
“As someone with Samoan 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,” he said.
Dynamic duo Akira and Rieko Ioane are the sons of former Samoan international rugby player Eddie Ioane, who was a member of the 1991 team that took the Rugby World Cup by storm. Eddie even played in the team’s quarter-final match against Scotland.
Former All Black and foundation Blues player Eroni Clarke is the son of Samoan international Iafeta Clarke, who was a member of the Western Samoan team that won the South Pacific Games rugby title in 1971 – the country’s first major win away from home. His grandson, Caleb Clarke, is a very promising young player in our U20s side, so one to watch for in the future.
Meanwhile, three legendary former Blues players – Michael Jones, Dylan Mika and Ofisa Tonu’u – are among a very select group of just nine players who have represented both Western Samoa and New Zealand in test matches.
Other Samoan internationals to proudly wear the Blues jersey include Leo Lafaiali’I, Brian Lima, George Pisi, and To’o Vaega, just to name a handful.
Long may our proud Samoan legacy continue at the Blues.