All Blacks flying into New Zealand provinces

Getty Images     17 Oct 2013     Getty Images

The All Blacks squad for the Air New Zealand European Tour will be announced on Sunday before the players head to Pukekohe, Tauranga, Matamata, Palmerston North, Nelson, Timaru and Queenstown on Friday 25 October.

The All Blacks to the Nation provincial visits have been a popular day with fans and the players since the first flying visits in 2011 before the Rugby World Cup.

All Blacks captain Richie McCaw said the players enjoyed the opportunity to visit cities and towns that don’t normally get to see the All Blacks up close. The flying visits were a way to acknowledge support from fans, young and old from all over New Zealand.

“We know that we have huge support from all parts of the country and our fans are a big part of what makes this team special. The visits have become popular with the guys as it really is a day for us to thank our supporters,” he said.

He said the visits were the ideal way to kick start their Air New Zealand European Tour.

Groups of three to four All Blacks, hosted by the local Provincial Union, will visit schools in each town and take part in other community activities.

In Pukekohe the All Blacks will join local kids in potato digging and packing; they will visit Hobbiton in Matamata; in Tauranga and Palmerston North players will catch up with local fans and rugby players; in Nelson they will visit the local hospital and help locals paint a mural for ITM Cup semifinalists the Tasman Makos; a BBQ awaits the players in Timaru; and a civic reception and golf are planned for Queenstown.

More details about the visits will be issued next week when players allocated to each town are announced. For more details about the All Blacks public appearances click here.