Seven towns, one day - All Blacks set for flying visits

Getty Images     24 Oct 2013     Getty Images

Queenstown also learned that they will host the final opportunity in New Zealand to see All Blacks captain Richie McCaw with the Webb Ellis Cup before it flies to the UK in preparation for Rugby World Cup 2015.

The players will visit local schools, attend public events, and meet rugby communities with activities planned in Pukekohe, Tauranga, Matamata, Palmerston North, Nelson, Timaru and Queenstown before they assemble in Auckland in advance of the Air New Zealand European Tour.

The All Blacks to the Nation provincial visits have been a popular day with fans and the players since the first flying visits in 2011 before Rugby World Cup.

A highlight of the flying visits is the Webb Ellis Cup joining Rugby World Cup winning All Blacks Richie McCaw, Ma’a Nonu, Andrew Hore, Cory Jane, and 2013 All Black Francis Saili for their trip to Queenstown and Arrowtown. The All Blacks and the Cup will feature at a public event at the Queenstown Events Centre in Frankton.

The Webb Ellis Cup has again been busy this week making final public appearances before departing New Zealand for Rugby World Cup 2015 promotional duties.

In Pukekohe, Dan Carter, Sam Whitelock, Dane Coles, Kieran Read and Charles Piutau will visits local schools and take part in local enterprise – potato sorting and packing.

In Tauranga, former international referee Bryce Lawrence will host Tony Woodcock, Liam Messam, Steven Luatua, Frank Halai and Israel Dagg.

Jeremy Thrush, TJ Perenara, Owen Franks and Julian Savea will head to Matamata where they will call in on Hobbiton.

Organisers are planning a large public Turbos airport welcome for Aaron Cruden, Keven Mealamu, Charlie Faumuina and Sam Cane in Palmerston North.

All Blacks Brodie Retallick, Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Wyatt Crockett, Beauden Barrett hit Makos country just as Nelson prepares to host their ITM Cup Championship Final against the Hawke’s Bay Magpies on Friday night.

Further south in Timaru, Ben Smith, Aaron Smith, Ben Franks and Luke Romano take in a barbeque at Timaru Airport as part of their visit to South Canterbury.

The All Blacks leave in two groups next week – the initial wave heading to Tokyo for the Test match against Japan, and the second wave later in the week to Europe for the Air New Zealand European tour.

For more detail about the All Blacks public events click here.

For more details on where to see the Webb Ellis Cup click here.

Be like Richie two years after:
Fans can rekindle memories of Rugby World Cup 2011 and enter the Be like Richie photo competition. Be in to win four tickets to the Test match of your choice in 2014 plus a signed 2013 All Blacks jersey. Competition closes tomorrow – for details click here.