The Queensland Reds received a special welcome to Samoa last night courtesy of none other than the Head of State, His Highness Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Efi.
His Highness Tui Atua was a special guest at the Reds official welcoming function hosted by the Australian High Commission at Tiapapata.
“I am proud to welcome you to Samoa,” His Highness Tui Atua said.
“I hope you have a good game on Friday. May God bless.”
The Head of State was among a host of dignitaries at the welcome, two days before the historical first Super Rugby clash in Samoa on Friday night.
Reds Head Coach, Nick Stiles, said the players are extremely happy to be here.
“Back in September the Auckland Blues approached about coming to Samoa and straight away we said yes,” he said.
“I was privileged enough to come here in 2011. To be around the kind hospitality and the warmness of the Samoan people is something that as a rugby player I was privileged to be part of and I was very keen to bring the Reds team here to Samoa.”
Both the Blues and Reds have a very long history of Pacific Islanders playing for the team.
“We look forward into Friday night’s game and being the first rugby game in Samoa. We know of how proud you are to have a Super Rugby game here at the Apia Park. It’s something that I’m sure we can remember and so as the people of Samoa.”
Australian High Commissioner, Sue Langford, knows the game will go down in the history books of this rugby mad country.
“The sport truly unites this country and rugby matches bring people from all walks of life together to cheer for their favourite teams,” she said.
“Since it started, Super Rugby fans in Samoa could only cheer for their favourite team on television but this Friday we will all be able to go and see the match for ourselves."
“As we all know Samoa and other Pacific Islands have made a significant contribution to the development of the sport worldwide.”
There are nine Samoan players in the Reds team.
“I understand there are nine players in the Reds Team of Samoan descend and I’m sure playing in front of the home crowd will be very special memory,” said Ms. Langford.
“Rugby has played an important role in strengthening people to people links between Australia and Samoa and that’s why I am particularly pleased to host this event this evening."
“[And] I’d like to commend the organisers, Prime Minister and the Samoa Rugby Union for their dedications and their efforts for bringing this historical match to Samoa.”