New Zealand Steel Blacks To Face American Samoa In International Friendly

The New Zealand Steel Blacks are in their final preparations to play against American Samoa this weekend at Mountfort Park in Manurewa, Auckland, New Zealand.

This will be the first time the New Zealand national men’s team has played a game since 2005 when they faced Team Australia in the Oceania Bowl.

American football has been played in New Zealand since the 1980s and there are currently seven teams playing. Steel Blacks head coach John Ikinepe has assembled a 35-player squad made up of players from Auckland, Hamilton Wellington, Nelson and Christchurch.

Head coach Ikinepe:

“My team is ready to go. Whatever happens will be decided on the day. New Zealand has been waiting for a international game for awhile. This will see how we measure up.”

American Samoa, with a population of only 65,000, has produced 30 NFL players and over 200 Division 1 American College players so will bring a team on the 2,000 mile trip to New Zealand of a high level of quality.

American Samoa - AS-NZ - team photo

Team American Samoa Photo: Samoa News American Samoa

In the 2012 IFAF Under-19 World Championship held in Austin, Texas, American Samoa finished fifth but was the only team other than Canada to play a close game against Team USA. The bulk of their roster against New Zealand this weekend will no doubt come from that team.

Watch replay of 2005 Oceania Bowl


American Football International is your source for news and updates about American Football outside the United States!