Tew reveals issues with Samoa return

Date published: July 12 2015

New Zealand Rugby chief executive Steve Tew admits it's unlikely that the All Blacks will play in Samoa in the near future due to a number of factors.

On the back of their successful trip to Apia that saw the island welcome them with open arms, the possibility of regular future visits seemed highly likely.

However, Tew has revealed that while he was pleased with the venture, there are several barriers that will make it difficult for New Zealand Rugby to commit.

"Clearly the engagement with the Samoan people was outstanding," he told stuff.co.nz following the All Blacks 25-16 triumph in Apia on Wednesday.

"They were incredibly welcoming and supportive. They passionately supported their team too and that probably contributed to the result. They played with immense belief and commitment. Right to the very end they were in with a chance to win it. It's been a really positive experience.

"The good thing about this test and the whole week is it's clearly obvious this is a place international teams can play rugby. It's hot. It's hard work. But there's no reason why teams can't come here on a regular basis from a logistical point of view. The challenge is the schedule.

"It's not just the All Blacks you need to ask that question of. It's all the other international sides in the world as well.

"What we need is a few more weeks in a year."

Financially too there is a stumbling block for the All Blacks if they commit to a game against Samoa, Fiji or Tonga in favour of June clashes with northern hemisphere sides or indeed their November tour, as Tew continued.

"The reality is if we don't play those other games then it has an impact on the revenue we earn and that will have an impact on what we can do for the community game; for sevens and our chances [at the Olympic Games] in Rio and in terms of keeping our best talent in New Zealand which continues to be a battle, as it is for Samoa," he said.

"The door has always been ajar. I can't account for 110 years of history. I can account for the last seven or eight and it's just been too difficult to fit it in. We had a window this year. We came. We enjoyed it. We contributed to the relationship between the two countries, not just at a rugby level."

He added: "Trying to get some more sense in the season is challenging. We think it's doable, but we keep coming back to the [global season] issues we have with the northern hemisphere clubs."