The Blues have a massive first week of June planned.

Locked into a Wednesday June 7 fixture with the touring Lions, before around 40,000 at Eden Park, they have shifted their Friday June 2 home Super Rugby fixture with the Reds to Apia Park, a first for the island nation.

That will test the players' mettle, and may not be what Steve Hansen had in mind, given in theory the Blues will have full access to their All Blacks for that Lions clash.

The Blues today officially announced the fixture at Samoa House in Mangere, at a function MCd by former Manu Samoa, All Blacks and Blues star Michael Jones. Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi, who is also chairman of the Samoan Rugby Union said the match, which follows the historic All Blacks-Manu Samoa test in 2015, would coincide with Samoa's 55th anniversary of independence celebrations.


Blues chief executive Michael Redman says the trip to Samoa and two big games in five days, whilst testing for the squad, would not be too onerous, with the shortish flight and similar time zone.

"It was always going to be a big 10 days for the club, so Tana (Umaga) will have to manage the squad accordingly," says Redman. The ball started rolling for this game when the draft draw was released last August.

"We recognised the proximity between these two games and wondered if there was an opportunity to do something a little different with the Super game, because obviously the Lions game will be a massive occasion in itself."

Most of the Blues squad will travel on the Thursday, the day before the game, to stick to normal routines, but there will be an advance party to help with coaching, rugby resources and promotional activity.

Jerome Kaino, fresh from his first team gym session of the season, loves the idea of taking Super Rugby to Samoa, having played at Apia Park for both the All Blacks and Junior All Blacks (in 2007). He is thankful they are playing at night, under the revamped Apia Park lights.

"I remember that test as being really draining. It was one of the hottest I've played in. It's the first time I've seen Richie (McCaw) really buggered after a game," Kaino says.

He is putting his hand up to play both fixtures.

"She's quite tight, but we have a good squad to be able to manage our way through that. Both are really exciting fixtures."

The 33-year-old loose forward will not play in the Brisbane 10s, despite his use in the advertising material, but indicated he would be keen to get "20 or 30 minutes" under his belt before the February 23 competition opener. That may come in the February 17 fixture against the Chiefs at Shadbolt Park, home of the Suburbs Rugby Club.

Redman said he was not at liberty to shed further light on the Patrick Tuipulotu situation, with the All Blacks and Blues lock a notable absentee today from those franchise players with Samoan blood (around 15). It seems there is little to no chance of Tuipulotu, who is dealing with "an ongoing personal matter", being ready to play when the Blues open Super Rugby in Melbourne against the Rebels.

"There's nothing I can add. I can't comment any further," said Redman.