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The All Blacks are coming to a town near you

1 August 2011

The All Blacks are coming to a town near you

The All Blacks will be visiting heartland New Zealand ahead of the Rugby World Cup 2011, with players to call in on 11 towns to spend time with the local communities.

Groups of players will visit the towns on Friday 2 September, the day before the All Blacks squad officially assembles for the Rugby World Cup tournament.

The towns are as follows:
• Kaeo in the Far North, which has a population of just 495.
• Te Puke, in the western Bay of Plenty, the ‘kiwifruit capital’ of New Zealand.
• Gisborne, on the East Coast of New Zealand.
• Stratford, in the dairy farming region of central Taranaki.
• Waipukurau, the farming town in the central Hawke’s Bay.
• Carterton, the ‘daffodil capital’ in the central Wairarapa.
• Motueka, which lies on the shore of Tasman Bay at the top of the South Island.
• Hokitika, the historical gold–mining West Coast township.
• Rangiora, in rural North Canterbury.
• Cromwell, in the heart of Central Otago.
• Winton, the thriving Southland Plains township.

All Blacks Captain Richie McCaw said: “It’s going to be cool for the team to get to smaller towns where they may not have been before. Coming from a small town myself (Kurow, near Oamaru, population 339), I know what it’s like living there while all the action seems to take place in the cities, so we’re really looking forward to heading to heartland New Zealand and hopefully the towns will also enjoy the day.”

All Blacks Manager Darren Shand said the team recognised that they had huge support not just in the larger cities, but small towns all over New Zealand, and wanted to repay that support.

“With our home Tests played in the major cities, we know that people in the small towns don’t often get the chance to see the All Blacks so we thought we would take the team to them.

“We wanted to get a spread of towns around the country from the Far North to Southland, the East Coast and the West Coast and towns in between. We know we can’t get to every small town, but hopefully the players will be coming to a town near you.”

The players will be hosted by the local council and rugby community, with the town free to arrange various activities for the players. Representatives in the towns have already been contacted and plans are underway. The names of the players who will be travelling to each town won’t be known until after the All Blacks Rugby World Cup squad is named on Tuesday 23 August.

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The All Blacks Coming To A Town Near You day will kick off a range of public activities the team will be involved in throughout Rugby World Cup. A public event will be held in Auckland on Sunday 4 September ahead of the All Blacks tournament-opening match against Tonga; the squad will be welcomed onto Turangawaewae Marae in Ngaruawahia ahead of the team’s match against Japan in Hamilton; a public event will be held in Christchurch when the team is there for several days ahead of the pool match against France and again in Wellington before the Test against Canada.


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