Kiwis coach Stephen Kearney, meanwhile, hopes that many of the Pacific Islanders in New Zealand can be persuaded to cheer for the Kiwis.
“In Auckland there is a pretty big Pacific Island community but we’ll have players of both Samoan and Tongan heritage who will be playing for New Zealand so hopefully we can swing a few of the Tongans and Samoans on our side,” he said.
“I reckon it will be pretty even but I’d like to think they will lean our way.
“What that stands for is that it will be a wonderful occasion, our opening game at Mt Smart against Samoa, and it will be no different down in Hamilton [against Tonga].
“I’m sure the Tongan community will get behind their team and support them down in Hamilton too.”