Nicholas Jones

Nicholas Jones is the New Zealand Herald’s education reporter.

Revealed: All Blacks' private celebrations after World Cup win

Jerome Kaino waves to fans as the All Blacks arrive back at the Heritage Hotel for an after-party following their win.
Photo / Jason Dorday
Jerome Kaino waves to fans as the All Blacks arrive back at the Heritage Hotel for an after-party following their win. Photo / Jason Dorday

The All Blacks toasted their new title of world champions into the early hours of yesterday morning at an exclusive after-party at a Viaduct apartment.

The Herald understands about nine All Blacks arrived at the party at a Princes Wharf apartment for 30 to 40 people at about 4am.

Former Wallaby great George Gregan was on the guest list as was Sky Sports commentator and former All Black Justin Marshall, who made a speech to the gathering.

Magnums of Moet were served to guests including celebrities Brooke Howard-Smith, Amber Peebles and bankrupt property developer David Henderson.

At the end of the parade yesterday fullback Israel Dagg said he was still on cloud nine and making do on "a couple hours" of sleep: "I've had a good night but there's still a long way to go, so don't want to burn out too quickly."

Halfback Jimmy Cowan said it was "good to get the wee gremlins off your shoulder".

"The boys celebrated in true style, we were pretty quiet [in the changing room after the game], pretty humbled, we sat together as a group."

Earlier in the night the entire team celebrated with friends and family at a private party at the team's Heritage Hotel in downtown Auckland.

Hundreds of fans surrounding the hotel cheered the team as they arrived with winners' medals at about 2am.

The players had worn serious expressions as they left for Eden Park hours earlier but beamed and waved to the boisterous crowd as they filed into the hotel.

Stephen Donald, the butt of numerous jokes in the lead-up to the match, suddenly found himself mobbed by fans after his performance helped edge the All Blacks to an 8-7 victory over France.

Later in the night Sir Richard Branson, wearing the All Blacks jersey Richie McCaw gave him last week, kissed fans and posed for photos before being whisked away in a waiting car.

A high-spirited Andrew Hore was quickly surrounded by well-wishers when he emerged from the hotel to give a friend a wristband which allowed entry to the party.

But in a demonstration of why the team chose to celebrate in-house, Hore was informed by a passerby in an All Blacks jersey that their one point winning margin wasn't good enough.

Cameras flashed in a courtyard at the back of the hotel as Richie McCaw, clutching the Webb Ellis Cup he left Eden Park with, was spotted through a window surrounded by friends.

Later on, lock Anthony Boric could be seen inside with the cup tucked protectively underneath one arm.

At 3.30am a group of young women in heels surrounded the hotel's entrance trying to spot players.

"We just saw Israel Dagg, no s***," one screamed.

Earlier in the night the All Blacks took turns drinking from the Webb Ellis Cup in their changing room.

They were joined by Prime Minister John Key and Rugby World Cup minister Murray McCully, and Steve Tew later walked away from the changing room arm in arm with Jock Hobbs.

Outside the room an escort of police motorcycles - each adorned with an All Blacks flag - waited to accompany the team back to their hotel.

The police officers clapped and took photos of the players as they filed on to the bus at 1.40am. Sergeant David Best said his team had escorted the All Blacks to all of their Auckland matches. "It's not a bad job," he said.

Hore boarded the bus with a couple of beers tucked into the Webb Ellis Cup, while giant lock Brad Thorn carried its lid.

- NZ Herald

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