Double world cup-winning former All Black captain Richie McCaw showed up to give some advice to the team in Tokyo and wish the man who took over his role a happy birthday.
McCaw was unsurprisingly very popular with the group of assembled VIP guests at the training run in Kōtō.
While he’ll watch the game in a luxury box this afternoon, Kieran Read cut a relaxed figure on his 33rd birthday. He was full of praise for his Japanese hosts in the build-up to the third Bledisloe Cup match in Tokyo tonight, as they build towards next year’s world cup.
“We’re excited to kick our tour off on the right note. We certainly know the threat the Aussies pose so it should be a good game,” he told the assembled media contingent.
“As a team [the Wallabies] have gelled a bit better. That second half of their last game is the sort of rugby you dream about.”
The Wallabies found themselves down 31-7 against Argentina in their final rugby championship game earlier this month, before mounting a remarkable second-half comeback to win 45-34.
As for his birthday celebrations, Read said he had gotten used to it falling during All Black tours given that his career in the black jersey now spans a decade. While he stressed that he still had to train like anyone else, he was hoping his teammates had a surprise for him in wait.
“I waiting to see if they’ve got a cake for me later on.”