July 8 is a day unlike any other in Samoa. Today is game day, one that will stand long and proud in the history books.

Today is when Manu Samoa will play the mighty All Blacks at Apia Park: a test that everyone craved but feared would never happen.

Today is what the last few months of preparation are all about. Today is why Apia Park has had a major facelift; why the roads are lined with flags and bunting; why effigies of All Blacks are scattered throughout the villages and why, everywhere, there are flags and signs with the most simple message that says it all - Go Manu.

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Today is why, as sunlight broke, there were entrepreneurs pulling their vans up to the side of the road to unload their T-shirts, flags and lava lavas.

Business was already looking good for most: everyone in Apia, it seems, feels the need to wear something that shows their support for the Manu.

Today is why the bus depot in downtown Apia was busier than usual, everyone, or almost everyone, appeared to be in a rush - Island-style rush that is - to knock off what needs to be done before kick-off.

Today is an official half-work day in Samoa - no one is required to do anything other than watch the rugby and store their own memories about the test they said would never happen.

If there is a car in Apia without a flag, no one has seen it. Certainly not this morning. And no one needed to be able to understand Samoan to know that the local radio stations were talking about nothing other than the game.

This afternoon will be tough for the Manu. The All Blacks, to a man, look lean and focused. They are here to win and start their World Cup campaign in the appropriate style.

In the last few days, the locals have been focused on the All Blacks. Eager to see them, to yell for them and be sure that they were really here.

But today the focus has changed. Today is about one team and one team only. Today is about Manu Samoa.

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