It is more than an historic test.
It is cousin against cousin, a day when a proud island nation finally gets to play at home against a team whose ranks have been filled down the years by gifted players of Samoan heritage.
For two pacific nations, today is an occasion to cherish.
I'm Steven Holloway and with the help of Kris Shannon will bring you all you need to know about today's game, the build-up, the colour and execitement and of course the play-by-play live match commentary. We are still over two hours away from kick off, so buckle in and enjoy some of today's best pre-match yarns.
Here is Gregor Paul's spine-tingling summation of this morning:
July 8 is a day unlike any other in Samoa. Today is game day, one that will stand long and proud in the history books.
Today is when Manu Samoa will play the mighty All Blacks at Apia Park: a test that everyone craved but feared would never happen.
Today is what the last few months of preparation are all about. Today is why Apia Park has had a major facelift; why the roads are lined with flags and bunting; why effigies of All Blacks are scattered throughout the villages and why, everywhere, there are flags and signs with the most simple message that says it all - Go Manu.
All Blacks v Manu Samoa - What you need to know
When: Wednesday, 2pm (NZ time)
Where: Apia Park, Apia, Samoa
What: For the first time ever, the All Blacks will play Manu Samoa in Samoa
-29°C and 74 per cent humidity is forecast for the game today
-It will be played in front of 8000 fans at Apia Park
-The Samoan public have a half-day off for the test
-The All Blacks last played Samoa on September 3, 2008
-The score in that game, played on a Wednesday in New Plymouth, was 101-14 to the All Blacks
-Fullback Mils Muliaina, born in Samoa, scored a hat trick in that game
-Four All Blacks who are set to play on Wednesday - Dan Carter, Tony Woodcock, Jerome Kaino and Keven Mealamu - also played in the New Plymouth test
Herald columnist Scotty Stevenson is over in Apia and has this to say about today's game:
I chatted to former Manu Samoa captain Filipo Levi in Auckland last week as he recalled that last game against the All Blacks in 2008, when he led a hastily-arranged team to an absolute shellacking in New Plymouth. He shakes his head when he thinks about that scoreline, but when we turned our attention to today's game, he was overcome with pride - in his country, in his team and in his people. That's the emotion that needs to be recognised, and capitalised on. He, and others like him are the figures that deserve to be celebrated and remembered today.
And it's good to celebrate this day, to understand that professional sport is not always about the cash, and to witness a moment Samoans will remember for generations to come. I just hope credit goes to the right people - to the 23 men on the field who will represent their families, their villages, their forebears and their nation with all the pride they can muster, and to the Samoan fans for whom rugby has always been about passion and power.
Herald rugby writer Patrick McKendry is at the ground and has just filed his first update:
An hour and a half to go until kick-off here at Apia Park and the atmosphere is building. It's still very relaxed, with the magnificent big screen showing highlights of previous Samoa tests, including a few big hits by the Brian "The Chiropracter" Lima. People, almost entirely dressed in the blue and red colours of Manu Samoa, are enjoying street barbecues. It truly is a brilliant setting, with the mountains at one end and the Pacific Ocean at the other.
Apparently there are 100 media accredited for this test - half from New Zealand but also including one reporter from England's Daily Mail.
Cheers Vishal. If you want to get involved in today's blog, click 'comment now' and share your views. I'm receptive toward score predictions, intelligent analysis and jokes.
From Pat at the ground: Big cheers for Richie McCaw as he walks on to pitch with referee Jaco Peyper and locks Sam Whitelock and Brodie Retallick. Ground announcer asks for applause for the All Blacks skipper. Pitch, which looks in good shape, being inspected.
So, let's talk odds. The TAB has the All Blacks as $1.04 favourites to win today, while Samoa are $8-1 outsiders. And that's encouraged some punters to back the home team. Someone has put $300 on Samoa to win, while another punter had put $9,000 on Samoa to stay within 30 points of the All Blacks (paying $1.87).
Looks like the live blog could re-unite old friends today. Vishal, did you work in Manukau? And do you know 'doggy'?
Here are some other interesting betting stats:
After opening at odds of $15, a late surge of money on Samoa has seen them narrow to $8 to win the match.
HEAD TO HEAD
90% of overall Head to head bets are on Samoa
One big bet on NZ - $16,400 @ $1.01 to return $16,564
Opened at Samoa +30, now Samoa +25
NZ TO WIN BY OVER 60 POINTS
There has also been large bets on NZ to thrash Samoa.
NZ to win by 61+ - $1000 @ $10 to return $10,000
The All Blacks could be facing their toughest challenge ever against a Pacific Island side this afternoon.
Pacific Island nations have played 15 games against the All Blacks, losing each one, and only coming within 30 points on two occasions.
The closest a Pacific Island side has come to toppling the mighty AB's was in 2004, when a Pacific Islanders side lost 41-26, while Samoa put in a solid effort in 1993, losing 35-13.
AB's v Samoa - 5 wins, 0 losses
Biggest win - 101-14, 2008
Closest game - 35-13, 1993
1993 - 35-13 win
1996 - 51-10 win
1999 - 71-13 win
2001 - 50-6 win
2008 - 101-14 win
Herald rugby expert Wynne Gray provides a more intense angle of All Black scrutiny:
As the historic rugby tension reaches new levels today at Apia Park we need to reset marking guidelines for the All Blacks.
They have only five tests until they leap into World Cup action against Argentina. It is a restricted timetable for some players to prove they still fit the All Black plans and for others to make a late surge for inclusion.
There will be a squeeze, then a substantial player cull after tests against Samoa, the Pumas, Springboks and two with the Wallabies. Form and fitness will be imperative.
A total of 49 players - without the 17 unavailable Super Rugby finalists and others on the injured roster or Maori duty - have made the opening All Black squad.
That group will be whittled back to the 31 allowed on World Cup duty.
While there have been problems assembling the All Blacks for this slice of history, any levity on judging the players should be parked outside the garlanded gates at Apia Park.
From Moana at the ground: An hour before the game is due to start, Apia Park is practically packed.
A number of All Blacks players are on the grounds now, including captain Richie McCaw. A commentator just asked the crowd to give an applause for McCaw and the boys in black - to which the crowd erupted and cheered loudly.
There is a sea of blue on all sides of the stadium, as well as dots of black amongst the crowd also.
We are just over 15 minutes away from kick off and the scene is set for a cracker. John Campbell is dominating the pre-game on TV with contagious enthusiasm.
Just minutes before kick-off – a Tauranga Punter has put $70,000 on the All Blacks to beat Samoa @$1.04 – Return $72,800
Here we go. Richie McCaw is leading the All Blacks onto the park.