Excitement is building around the country as 10 lucky towns get ready to host the All Blacks ahead of the team's departure for the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
Following Sunday night's announcement of the All Blacks World Cup squad, players have been confirmed for tomorrow's visits to Long Bay and Papakura, New Plymouth, Greytown, Whakatane, Gisborne, Westport, Stoke, Dunedin and Mataura.
Air New Zealand will be helping players spend time with the winners of the competition. The team will visit local schools and clubs, and participate in community events.
The schedule is as follows:
Long Bay: Sonny Bill Williams, Aaron Smith and Tony Woodcock will spend time with fans at Air New Zealand's domestic check-in area at Auckland Airport between 9:40-10am, before they head to the North Shore. Afterwards, they will make private visits to winners Long Bay Primary, Small Fries Kindergarten and attend a Rippa Rugby Tournament in Riverhead.
Papakura: Keven Mealamu, Jerome Kaino, Brodie Retallick and Malakai Fekitoa will also be at the Auckland Domestic terminal at the same time, before they pay private visits to winner Papakura Normal School and will have lunch with Ardmore Marist Rugby Club.
Beauden Barratt, Waisake Naholo and Conrad Smith will be at the New Plymouth Airport between 9:20am-9:45am. They will then head off to meet winner Jake McLean. Fans will also have another opportunity to spend time with the players between 12:45pm-1:45pm at a community activity to be held at Ngamotu Beach.
Ma’a Nonu, Nehe Milner Skudder and Victor Vito will first pay a private visit to Polly Matthews and other residents at Greytown Ultra Care, along with children at Greytown Community Creche, Greytown School and Carterton School. Fans will get a chance to meet the players at the Greytown Community Fair from 11.45pm – 12.30pm where a public Q & A and signing session will be held.
Tauranga fans are encouraged to get to Tauranga Airport between 9.15am-9.35am to welcome players Liam Messam, Tawera Kerr-Barlow and Sam Cane before they head to Whakatāne. There, winners ‘Team Whakatane’ will formally welcome them at a public event at Mataatua Reserve between 10.20am – 11.40am. Following a private visit to Mataatua Marae, the players will then head to Opotiki’s Memorial Park between 1.20pm-2.15pm for another public event.
Dan Carter, Charlie Faumuina and TJ Perenara will kick off their visit by meeting fans at Gisborne Airport between 9.30am-9.50am. Then, they will then go and meet students from winning entry Awapuni School before stopping in at a Rippa Rugby Tournament at More FM Rugby Park between 12.30pm – 3.00pm. Members of the public are invited to come along to the tournament where the players will participate in a public Q & A session.
Between 9.00am – 9.25am Hokitika Airport will host Sam Whitelock, Dane Coles and Luke Romano to the West Coast. Winner St Canice’s School will then be treated to a private visit before Westport locals are encouraged to descend on to the town’s main street between 12.00pm – 12.30pm for a meet & greet with the players. The day doesn’t end there with private visits to Westport South, Westport North and Westport High Schools.
Nelson locals are encouraged to get along to Nelson Airport where players Julian Savea, Codie Taylor and Owen Franks will be welcomed by the Mayor and Nelson College’s 1st XV rugby team will perform a haka. In addition to private visits to winner Stoke School and Stoke Seniors, players will head along to a Rippa Rugby Tournament at Greenmeadows Field between 12.30pm-1.15pm.
Dunedin fans are welcome at Dunedin Airport between 11.15am–11.35am where they can meet players Ben Smith, Ben Franks and Kieran Reid off their plane from Wellington. It’s then a busy schedule ahead for the guys who will pay a private visit to Radius Fulton Care whose winning entry consisted of a poem written and performed by residents. The players will then visit Bayfield High School where they will make lunch with the 1st XV and Sports Council students before calling in to Tahuna Intermediate.
Richie McCaw, Colin Slade and Wyatt Crockett will be given a welcome to remember at Invercargill Airport with a group of high school students performing a haka. Fans are encouraged to come along at 10.45am to help welcome the trio to the deep south. Following a private visit to winner Mataura School, a public Welcome Ceremony will be held between 12.40pm – 1.40pm at Mataura School Field where Gore District Mayor, Tracey Hicks, will lead proceedings. Mataura Rugby Club will then host the players for a private lunch.