APIA, (STUFF NZ) – Samoa Prime Minister and rugby boss Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi has joked he’d like to pay the All Blacks in coconuts and pawpaw for their looming test in Apia.
Tuilaepa was defending the high ticket prices for the July clash. With a capacity of around 12,000 at Apia Park, tickets range from $12to $270 (US$4 –US$105).
He said the cost of hosting the All Blacks was expensive and revenue had to be recouped.
“I wish we could use coconuts to pay for the All Blacks visit,” Tuilaepa told the Samoa Observer newspaper, “but that’s not the case. Money is required. It’s expensive.”
“If only they would accept some baskets of pawpaw and if they all ate guava, that would’ve been fine but these boys want steak, so it’s not cheap.”
The All Blacks will be in Samoa for four days from July 6 on their historic visit with the match being used as part of the World Cup buildup for both teams.
Tuilaepa talked up the prospects of his team though he wasn’t prepared to reveal details, saying he didn’t want to give any advantages to the All Blacks.
“We are well prepared,” he said.
“But I don’t want to tell you because if I tell you, it will be pointless to [prepare then] because news about it will spread and then those preparations will become stale.”
“If we discuss it now, then by tonight it will be all over the news in New Zealand. It would be broadcasted and spread by some other nasty people there.
“Someone might tell them that we have a plan A, plan B and plan C. That’s why I don’t want to tell you now.
“See these guys [the Samoa Observer] will put it on the internet and then the All Blacks coach will read about it. It’s amazing what’s happening these days.”
Samoa have had to make repairs to Apia Park for their first hosting of a test against the All Blacks.
Interest will also centre on the strength of the Samoan team after players complained in November of poor management by the Samoan union, threatening at one stage to boycott their clash with England at Twickenham.