Former All Black great Dan Carter arrived in Paris this week ahead of going to Madrid this weekend to join the Classic All Blacks, a team that includes former 2011 Rugby World Cup team-mates and winners Jerome Kaino and Conrad Smith.
Other All Black icons connected to the team are Tana Umaga as head coach, and 1987 World Cup winner and chairman of the Laureus World Sports' Academy, Sean Fitzpatrick who is the patron of the side.
Carter, who returned to New Zealand in 2020 after five years playing for Paris-based club, Racing 92, and a two-season stint with Japanese outfit Kobelco Kobe Steelers, has been excited about returning to Europe for the first time.
Carter and wife Honor and their young boys loved being part of the Paris scene, holding their own among the world's sporting elite celebrities in Europe.
This week Carter told his social media followers how good it was to be back and he thought he wasn't a tourist anymore, before doing a photo dump of himself in front of the City of Lights' famous monuments including, The Eiffel Tower, The Louvre, a pair of croissants and a couple of bottles of 2011 Petrus Pomerol, a red from Libournais, Bordeaux, valued at more than 3500 euro a bottle. The following day he caught up with his old Paris team.
Carter is now in the Spanish capital as an ambassador for the Classic All Blacks, a team of former ABs who were to be playing a friendly against Spain's national team, the Los Leones (The Lions), at an exhibition match at the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium early this morning, New Zealand time.
Among the former ABs playing alongside Kaino and Smith is Rico Gear and captaining the side is Corey Flynn who has said he hoped the friendly with Spain would "become an annual tradition".
The team has a big band of supporters travelling with them. Gear's family have made a family trip of a lifetime out of it, and before the game have been seeing the sights, enjoying hospitality and sampling national dishes like paella.
On Monday, the royal treatment was laid out for the team in Madrid and the CABs returned the favour with a haka. The Madrid Metropolitan reported the team did the haka in front of the Royal Palace in the Plaza de Oriente before Madrid´s Mayor, members of the Spanish side and hundreds of fans and visitors.
Gear's wife, Bec, who has been documenting her family's trip, told her social media followers on Tuesday, "An absolute honour to witness my husband speak on behalf of the Classic All Blacks at The Royal Palace of Madrid. The kids have been taking it all in and it's safe to say they are learning so much! Muy Bueno."
The match was supposed to have taken place in 2020 and then again in 2021, but both games were postponed due to the pandemic.
The clash between the two teams has been organised by Kiwi House in conjunction with the Spanish Rugby Federation and Atlético de Madrid.