Samoa 16
All Blacks 25

The setting was magnificent, the Apia Park crowd was in boisterous voice, the anticipation was off the scale and the rugby was average at best.

For almost a week, feverish stories about the passion for rugby in Samoa and the rising pulse of the island nation flooded the sports world.

But when the action started, the result was a disappointing watch for those 8000 who managed to get tickets to this historic test.


Most of the All Black intention fizzled with their own careless work in the humid conditions against resolute defence from Samoa.

For decades, a succession of All Black coaches have preached the need for control and basic rugby against sides like Samoa, France and Fiji who relish games which lack structure where they can improvise from mistakes.

Take them on, squeeze them with the ABCs of rugby and room begins to appear towards the flanks where the All Blacks athleticism can prosper. However the All Blacks could not hold possession long enough before spilling it or losing out at the breakdown so phase-play pressure evaporated.

Tactical kicking from both teams was haphazard and rushing defences gave them little time to make adjustments to their depth on attack.

The try-scoring drought was broken after 47 minutes on debut by the powerful George Moala before Samoa erupted when Alafoti Fa'osiliva charged then spun his way through defenders to score.

The All Blacks had their victory but Samoa won the occasion, on and off the field.