Awesome re­cep­tion for All Blacks in Tokyo

Fiji Sun - - Sport - Tokyo: Steve Hansen

If the All Blacks’ ex­traor­di­nary wel­come in Ja­pan gives any indi­ca­tion of what the tour­na­ment will be like, head coach Steve Hansen couldn’t be more ex­cited.

The All Blacks were greeted yes­ter­day by hun­dreds of scream­ing rugby fans when they ar­rived in Tokyo where they were asked to sign nu­mer­ous au­to­graphs and pose for pho­tos with fans.

The team were then wel­comed to their ho­tel by a group of lo­cal chil­dren, all wear­ing All Blacks jer­seys, per­form­ing a pas­sion­ate ver­sion of the haka.

Speak­ing to all­ fol­low­ing their first train­ing ses­sion, Hansen said it was un­like any­thing he had ex­pe­ri­enced at any World Cup.

“Awesome re­cep­tion, we got,” he said. “Pretty mind-blow­ing ac­tu­ally.

“I’ve been to five of these things and never seen any­thing like that so if that’s an indi­ca­tion of the kind of sup­port all the teams are go­ing to get then it’s go­ing to be fan­tas­tic.” Hav­ing set­tled into train­ing in Ja­pan, Hansen said he’s ex­cited by the week ahead as they pre­pare to open their Rugby World Cup campaign.

The All Blacks kick off their first pool game against South Africa next Satur­day night, set­ting the scene for ar­guably the tough­est open­ing game of the com­pe­ti­tion.

Not wast­ing any time, Hansen said they’ve al­ready hit the ground run­ning on their first day in the cap­i­tal city.

“As you can see the pitch is in out­stand­ing nick,” Hansen said. “We’ll get a good weeks worth here done and get re­ally ex­cited about next week so I’m pretty happy.

“It just takes the pres­sure off and gives us time to work on the lit­tle things that we know we have to get bet­ter at and you can re­ally em­pha­sise those, so some re­ally spe­cific [things] that we have to get right to com­pete against South Africa.”-NZ

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