All Blacks Sam Whitelock, Charlie Faumuina, Aaron Smith and Joe Moody are preparing for one of the most high pressure tests of the year by lining out against those much younger than them.

Thanks to a partnership with UNICEF Ireland, the players took part in a pre-match skills & drills session for rugby minis in Dublin, aimed at highlighting children's right to play.

The event involved 26, 10-year-old children, all chosen because of their clear commitment to sport, and to rugby in particular.

While the adults in attendance were mindful of this weekend's high stakes clash, the children did not hold back when it came to their Q&A session with the players, causing some on the New Zealand side to question their motives.


"What is your most used line out call" asked one of the boys, to which Sam Whitelock responded "Who is your Dad? An Irish International?"

Photo / UNICEF Ireland - Naoise Culhane
Photo / UNICEF Ireland - Naoise Culhane

UNICEF's global partnership with the All Blacks helps to shine a spotlight on the importance of physical activity in all areas of children's lives.

Sport and play are crucial elements for childhood development and furthermore are the right of every child, as stated in Article 31 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The All Blacks, All Blacks Sevens, New Zealand Women's Sevens, Black Ferns, Maori All Blacks and New Zealand Under 20 teams continue to contribute and interact with UNICEF's work as they play rugby around the world.

All Blacks veteran lock Sam Whitelock said: "We know that children need to play, but children also have the right to play. It's great for the All Blacks to team up with UNICEF to work to make sure every child is able to play sport. My teammates and I are privileged enough to travel the world in the name of sport - and we are happy that we can use this opportunity to spread the word about the importance of play."

All Black Charlie Faumuina meets kids in Dublin. Photo / UNICEF Ireland - Naoise Culhane
All Black Charlie Faumuina meets kids in Dublin. Photo / UNICEF Ireland - Naoise Culhane

Executive Director of UNICEF Ireland Peter Power said: "This amazing collaboration between UNICEF and the All Blacks serves to highlight the right of children to play and develop, no matter where they are born."

UNICEF believes every child has the right to grow up with the opportunity to develop through playing and sport and sportspeople help us to inspire and engage children in our work at home and overseas.