Haka, Posters, Flags and Screams as Rugby heroes come home
The plans for according a fitting reception to the Rugby World Champions All Blacks began as soon as they lifted the Cup in England on October 31.
Thousands of people were at the Auckland International Airport as they disembarked from the specially decorated Air New Zealand aircraft on Wednesday, November 4, 2015.
Ground handling crew at the airport performed an energetic Haka soon after the plane taxied towards the air bridge. As the players made their way out, the airport reverberated with deafening cheers of supporters. The response was so overwhelming that many of the team members confessed to being pleasantly surprised by the outpour of love and emotion.
This was only the beginning.
The euphoria across the city was even more palpable as the All Blacks became the first in the world to win back-to-back Rugby World Cups, setting the stage for a script-perfect end to the careers of legends of the game, including poster boy Dan Carter.
Captain Richie McCaw’s career is understood to have also come to an end, although no one, including McCaw himself, wants to discuss it right now.
The preference is to enjoy this moment for a while longer.
A victory parade soon followed in Auckland city centre leading to Victoria Park where, as expected, a raucous crowd of 25,000 braved an erratic Auckland spring day to mingle with the stars.
Aucklanders left nothing to chance in getting a glimpse of their legends, starting to queue up as early 630 am knowing that the event was scheduled for midday or thereafter.
People were out in full force, armed with all forms of black memorabilia, faces bearing black and silver paints and enduring smiles. When the sky opened up for light showers, no one seemed to care.
This set off a string of such celebrations across the country.
Social media has been inundated with thousands of Selfies – many posted by the players themselves. This was the perfect welcome this team deserved.
Pictures by Ashok Kochhar
- Huge crowds to welcome the Rugby Champs
- A smile is not enough
- A young woman shows her love for Abs
- An early start- that’s the Kiwi spirit
- Long wait at Victoria Park
- Youngsters show their joy
- Need we say more?