Samoa to host Blues' Super Rugby match against Reds
Super Rugby will head to Samoa for the first time in 2017 with Blues announcing their match against Reds will take place in Apia on June 2.
The encounter coincides with Samoa's 55th independence celebrations and will be the first major rugby match to be played under revamped floodlights at Apia Park.
Blues chief executive Michael Redman said: "The Super Rugby draw this season threw up a unique situation with a home game scheduled only five days before our match against the British and Irish Lions at Eden Park.
"When we assessed all of our options within our region, taking this game to Samoa became an obvious choice. Our Blues region is home to around 150,000 proud Samoans and we have 15 players in our team with Samoan heritage, along with our head coach Tana Umaga.
"This is an exciting opportunity for the Blues organisation and rugby both in our region and in Samoa."
Chiefs took on Crusaders in Fiji during the 2016 edition of Super Rugby and the two teams will return to Suva in May this year. SANZAAR chief executive Andy Marinos expressed his delight at seeing another fixture in the Pacific Islands get added to the calendar.
"SANZAAR is delighted that after the success of the Super Rugby match in Fiji last year we will see in 2017 a match in Apia thanks to the foresight of Blues," said Marinos.
"Indeed we will have two matches in the Pacific Islands this year. We recognise that Samoa, like the rest of the Pacific Islands, is an important geographical part of the rugby landscape in the southern hemisphere and the rugby talent and the support for the game within the region is amazing."