All Blacks draw ... a crowd

By Vaimoana Tapaleao

After torrid tie in Sydney, team take time out to pass on tips to Auckland schoolkids

Liam Messam shows off his skills at yesterday's training session at Henderson. Picture / Greg Bowker
Liam Messam shows off his skills at yesterday's training session at Henderson. Picture / Greg Bowker

The All Blacks may be up for another big Bledisloe weekend, but they were happy to give up some precious training time to hang out with some of their most loyal fans.

Up to 200 primary, intermediate and high school students from around West Auckland took part in a special training session - at Henderson's Trusts Stadium - run by 10 All Blacks.

Charlie Faumuina, Brodie Retallick, Colin Slade, Beauden Barrett, Owen Franks, Dominic Bird, Wyatt Crockett, Liam Messam, TJ Perenara and Julian Savea shared their knowledge with the students.

Savea was a particular favourite with the youngsters, who lined up to give the powerful wing high-fives and mobbed him after the training session finished.

All Blacks manager Darren Shand said it was a great chance for the players to meet young fans. "It was a really cool session for the kids at Trusts Stadium and great that they got the chance to hang out with the players and learn some rugby tips off them.

"The players love getting out among their fans and passing on their knowledge.

"I'm sure there were a few future All Blacks and Black Ferns players out there."

The All Blacks take on the Wallabies on Saturday in the second Bledisloe Cup test.

The first game, held in Sydney at the weekend, was affected by heavy rain and ended up 12-12.

As of yesterday, TAB odds for the Eden Park clash stood at $1.22 for an All Blacks win and $4 for Australia. Ticket sales for the match are strong, with Auckland Rugby announcing it had only 500 tickets available, as of midday yesterday. The stadium has a capacity of 48,000.

A spokeswoman said last night that she was unable to give an update on ticket sales, but confirmed there were still a small number left.

Bledisloe Cup showdown
All Blacks v Wallabies

Eden Park, Saturday, 7.35pm

Tony Veitch and an expert panel talking about the All Blacks' performance, here.

- NZ Herald

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