Moments after the All Blacks' comprehensive victory in their opening Rugby World Cup clash against the Springboks, they also won the battle for hearts with an astonishing show of respect in the Yokohama Stadium.

The All Blacks claimed an impressive 23-13 win against the old foe, in what many observers believe could be a rehearsal for the final on November 2.

Shortly after the final whistle, Kieran Read's men were pictured bowing to a 69,000-strong Yokohama Stadium.

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Read explained the gesture after the match.

"It's really important for us to connect as much as we can with the Japanese people. We know that they love us as All Blacks, but we need to show a bit of love back to them.

"Their support's been fantastic so far and we saw that tonight – there's plenty of fans with the black jerseys which is fantastic. We want to enjoy this tournament, get out and see as many people as we can, and hopefully win some more fans."

This follows after Aaron Smith revealed the special measures taken by the team to respect the Japanese and their culture.

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Last week, when the All Blacks were training in Kashiwa, those with tattoos had to cover up when using traditional onsen, or spas. It is something they have done on previous trips to the country.

The All Blacks bow to the crowd moments after defeating the Springboks in Yokohama. Photo / Mark Mitchell
The All Blacks bow to the crowd moments after defeating the Springboks in Yokohama. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Tattoos can offend in Japan because of their association with criminal elements in this most traditional of societies.

"We've got an onsen, or a spa, at every hotel," Smith said. "In Kashiwa that spa was a public one so we had to wear skivvies or tights. And that's okay, we're in Japan, we have to embrace their way, their culture."

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