One WRFU club is travelling a long way for their preseason footy, as the Kaierau Premiers will play Samoa College Old Pupils Association (SCOPA) RFC in Apia this Saturday.
Kaierau, who last season made the Premier semifinals for the first time since 2012, are taking a squad of 22 players to Samoa, under co-coaches Ace Malo and Carl Gibson.
Meeting them over there will be prop Raymond Salu and winger Pene Vui, who returned to their family homes after last season's representative campaigns for Steelform Wanganui and the Development XV respectively.
Tour manager Darrell Robinson said the game will kickoff at 3pm, and they were just waiting to see if it will be played at Apia Park – Samoa's main rugby ground – as a curtain raiser to a Samoa vs Tonga Under 20 match.
It will be the first time a Kaierau side has played overseas since the club toured the United States in 1976, when All Black and future NZRU president Bill Osborne was in his prime.
Robinson said they would like to make the fixture a biennial event, while the club is also considering options to tour Fiji in the future.
Plans came about for the SCOPA game last April when Robinson was in Samoa to attend a 50th birthday.
The two clubs have a number of connections through former players, most notably 2006 Wanganui representative Arteria Arteria, who was later tragically killed in a car accident.
Therefore, this game will be for the Arteria Memorial Shield, and because the two clubs have similar coloured jerseys, Kaierau will play in a special white away strip.
The club held fundraisers to pay for their new gear, while all members of the touring party have self-funded to attend.
Kaierau Premiers started their preseason training three weeks ago at the Country Club while SCOPA, the local 2019 club champions, had a team at the recent Marist International Sevens tournament.
The Kaierau party of 49 people with the team, executive and supporters, will fly out on Thursday and return home next Wednesday.
Robinson said if possible they will try to livestream the game on the club's Facebook page.