Pasifika Challenged Photo Essay Preview

As the Manu Samoa head into their final Pacific Nations Cup match against Fiji at Apia Park let us take a look at how the Pacific community lit up Eden Park at the pre-Lions warm up test on June 16. The Pasifika Challenge double header saw the Manu Samoa play the mighty All Blacks and the Ikale Tahi (Tonga) take on Wales. LAUMATA LAUANO was on the ground to see the Pacific morale hold strong despite the defeat




Although the upcoming Fiji-Samoa match determines who out of Samoa and Tonga will take the second qualifying Oceania spot for the 2019 Rugby World Cup, Samoan and Tongan communities rally behind their teams and each other when playing bigger nations like New Zealand and Wales.

The Pasifika Challenge at Eden Park in June was no different.


As Manu Samoa were destroyed by the All Blacks 78-0, one couldn’t help but think, ‘What had we been expecting?’

After all, in the lead-up Alama Ieremia, Manu Samoa’s head coach and a former All Black, said Manu were preparing to play the best team in the world.

“It doesn't matter what team they put out, there is no weak All Black team, but we're excited about the challenge."


And what a challenge it would be.





Not only had the All Blacks not lost a game at Eden Park in 23 years, they hadn’t lost a test at home in New Zealand against any nation since 2009.


The match followed the Ikale Tahi’s valiant efforts against Wales, with Wales winning 24-6.


Samoan and Tongan communities were out in force for the Pacific double-header.





They didn’t fill Eden Park, but they ensured there was plenty of blue (Samoa) and red (Tonga) among the sea of black.


It was heartening to see some Tongan fans decked in red make a change after the game to the blue of Manu Samoa in a show of solidarity for their Pacific brethren.

Read Issue 70 (coming soon) of Spasifik Magazine, #SPK70, for more of the fanfare in the full version of the Pasifika Challenged photo essay.