McCaw relishing first Samoa Test

Date published: June 27 2015

Despite being on the winning side in more than 100 Tests, All Blacks skipper Richie McCaw is set to face Samoa at Test level for the first time.

The 137-Test veteran is one of the most decorated players ever to play the game but in his 14-year Test career against 14 countries, McCaw has never played against Samoa.

That situation will change as the Pacific Islanders will host the world champions in Apia on July 8, although McCaw is expected to start on the bench with Matt Todd set to be the starting openside flanker.

"I haven't played too much rugby for a couple of weeks so hopefully I get the boots on and have a run," McCaw told Fairfax Media.

"Whether it's a start of not I'll find that out next week but I haven't spoken to the coaches about it.

"Considering the amount of rugby I've played I feel pretty good. There's always a bit of room for improvement and we've got time to do that as the season goes on."

McCaw won't be the only player to face Samoa for the first time as only six players in the 41-man All Blacks squad have played against them at Test level.

The last time these countries met New Zealand delivered a 101-14 thrashing in New Plymouth in 2008 with Tony Woodcock, Jerome Kaino, Daniel Carter, Ma'a Nonu and Conrad Smith all in the starting line-up with Keven Mealamu making an appearance off the replacments bench.

McCaw believes the historic Test in Apia will be a much closer affair.

"It will be exciting to get back out and play a Test," he said. 

"It's significant in terms of not being done before but from our team we want to make sure we use the game to get the season off to a good start.

"The things we've done this week and will do next week we want to make sure we put that out on the track. The Samoan boys will be keen to put a good show on. 

"It's not just a matter of rocking up there and turning up to be in a game."