The All Blacks have joined forces with New Zealand's Returned and Services Association to encourage Kiwis to join in the international recognition of Armistice Day on Friday.

Steve Hansen's side, who are in Rome preparing for their match against Italy on Sunday morning (NZT), recorded special messages of support for those who have served New Zealand in conflict and operations over the past century.

The team will also wear embroided poppies on their sleeve this weekend and Hansen said it was an opportunity for them to say thanks to those who had given their lives or went to war and served New Zealand in operations overseas and at home.

"It's our little way of saying, 'hey, we thank you for that, and we remember you'," Hansen said.


All Blacks captain Kieran Read echoed Hansen's sentiment.

"On Armistice Day, the All Blacks and the RSA are encouraging all New Zealanders to take a moment and think about those who lost their loved ones and the families who carried on.

"There are many New Zealanders still serving around the world and what they do is fantastic. The time that they spend away makes what we do, in comparison, seem very minor."

Read says the connection that comes with playing in places such as Italy and France where New Zealanders fought and died is strong.

"So it's a privilege to carry a poppy on our jersey and in some small way play a part in remembering them."

The All Blacks will commemorate Armistice Day in a country where New Zealand forces played a prominent role during WWII, notably at Monte Cassino, only a short distance from Rome, where the All Blacks will play on Sunday. All Black Jack Hardy was killed at Cassino on in May 1944 and fellow All Black George Hart lost his life at Sora in June 1944 and is buried at Cassino. They were among 2100 New Zealanders killed in operations in Italy from 1943 to 1945.

The All Blacks and the RSA are calling on New Zealanders to take a moment this Friday to pause and remember the service and sacrifice of New Zealand service men and women.
RSA president BJ Clark says Armistice Day is a day of great historical significance, solemnity and remembrance throughout the world, recognising the day WWI officially ended.

"While in New Zealand, Anzac Day is our major day of remembrance, Armistice Day is a major moment of reflection as we call to mind the day when the guns fell silent and all those who served in the Great War and every operation since then," he said.