Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 8 December 2019

Rugby World Cup: Japanese schoolkids welcome All Blacks with haka - watch

New Zealand begin their campaign on September 21 against rivals South Africa

Japanese children perform the Haka during a welcome ceremony for the All Blacks upon their arrival at a hotel in Kashiwa. AFP 
Japanese children perform the Haka during a welcome ceremony for the All Blacks upon their arrival at a hotel in Kashiwa. AFP 

As the 2019 Rugby World Cup fast approaches, the 20 competing teams are starting to arrive in Japan, and the defending champions New Zealand were given a warm welcome they would be very familiar with.

The All Blacks landed in Tokyo on Monday before making their way to Kashiwa where they were greeted by Japanese schoolchildren who performed a haka at the team hotel.

"A fantastic welcome, mind-blowing really," Steve Hansen, coach of the two-time defending world champions, said.

As well as the haka-style greeting from the schoolkids, New Zealand players and staff were welcomed by hundreds of fans seeking photos and autographs, with Sonny Bill Williams proving the most popular - unsurprising given his spell in Japanese rugby.

The All Blacks then took to the Kashiwanoha Stadium for a training session on Tuesday as they prepare for their blockbuster opening Rugby World Cup game against rivals South Africa on September 21.

Updated: September 10, 2019 11:04 AM

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