NZ bond special for Samoa
While the Kiwis will be the sworn enemy for 80 minutes on Saturday night, for much of the Toa Samoa squad New Zealand will always represent home and the black jersey an important part of their careers.
Among the 17 set to take the field for Samoa in Auckland are 10 players who were born in New Zealand, while there are another three who were born in other countries but have represented New Zealand at junior or senior level in the past.
It leaves Young Tonumaipea, Peter Mata'utia, Tim Lafai and Joseph Leilua as the only Samoa players who wouldn't be eligible to represent the Kiwis, while there are also duel Samoa-New Zealand internationals Ben Roberts, Frank Pritchard and Suaia Matagi in coach Matt Parish's team for week one.
This week Matagi told NRL.com he would like to show his pride for both countries prior to kick-off, and said the squad was relishing the opportunity to play the Kiwis.
"I will probably end up singing both anthems," Matagi said.
"I am just looking forward to it. I am very honoured to have represented both teams and it is a dream come true to get another opportunity and to play this Saturday.
"It's going to be a massive game; the Kiwis are one of the top teams at the World Cup so it's a big one for us."
New Zealand and Samoa have met three times at Test level, with the Kiwis winning all three matches dating back to 2010.
Assistant coach David Penna said there had been a unique buzz in camp this week as much of the squad enjoyed being back around family and friends in Auckland.
"I think so [there has been some extra excitement] and I think it's nice for the boys to be able to have family here," Penna said.
"They are comfortable and that is a massive positive for us.
"I think the boys across the board respect all the cultures… it's just going to be a fantastic night for everybody."
Meanwhile Samoa are set to run out at Mount Smart Stadium as named, with no injury concerns arising this week.