England touch down in Auckland
August 31, 2011
England captain Lewis Moody is greeted by supporters © Getty Images
England have arrived in Auckland ahead of the World Cup and were greeted by a rousing reception from about 100 fans.
Martin Johnson's men progressed into the Auckland Airport's arrival lounge at approximately 5.30am (NZ) on Wednesday and were immediately faced with a typical Maori welcome -the Haka. But as well as the traditional Kiwi welcome, they were welcomed by a hoard of expat supporters who had arrived in all manner of face paint and red rose embroidered clothing.
And England coach Johnson was delighted with the reception. When addressing the crowd he said: "Just what we need to wake us up after a long flight. We're finally here; it should be a great turnout."
England open their World Cup campaign against Argentina in Dunedin on September 10 but Johnson announced that England would stay in Auckland until Sunday to recover from their jet-lag. And the Auckland faithful will have another chance to see their heroes when England return to the City of Sails for their final Pool B clash with Scotland on October 1.
In other arrivals on Wednesday, Japan touched down just after England with France appearing through the arrival gates later in the afternoon.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Firdose Moonda looks at the moves towards greater integration within South African rugby ... and what the future holds
Martin Gillingham looks ahead to what he believes is the most remarkable ever climax to the league phase of the Top 14
With just two rounds left in the regular season, we look at the prospects of the teams taking part in the Championship play-offs
Joe Simpson talks to Charlie Morgan about loss, Wasps and being England's game-breaker