The 31-man All Blacks squad have hit out at their first training this morning in Wellington, though not before a special meeting with Ngāti Toa at Hongoeka Marae in Plimmerton.
It’s understood the squad, including coaching staff, were welcomed onto the marae yesterday evening, where a historical account of the haka composed by Ngāti Toa Rangatira, Te Rauparaha was given.
Assistant coach, Ian Foster says, “It was a significant time for us to go back to where Ka Mate comes from and it was an evening that we were all privileged to be part of.”
Also in attendance was Derek Lardelli, composer of the haka Kapa O Pango, performed originally by the All Blacks.
Prop Charlie Faumuina says hearing the story behind the haka was something special.
He says, “It was something that the boys from 2005 wanted to do as a team so just to see why they wanted to do it is pretty awesome.”
The special visit could have been the reason the squad were fizzing this morning at their first training since the naming on Sunday.
Foster says, “The whole thing lifted up quite a few percent. The intensity level was there, the focus was there and it’s not as if it wasn’t there beforehand, it’s like the mission is very clear.”