New Zealand
All Blacks celebrate Rugby World Cup victory in strip club before returning home to heroes' welcome
AAP
November 3, 2015
Rugby greats deny Southern Hemisphere superiority

he All Blacks have celebrated the Rugby World Cup final victory against Australia by partying at a London strip club.

The Daily Mail pictured members of the squad, including captain Richie McCaw, World Player of the Year Dan Carter and a host of others leaving the Platinum Lace gentlemen's club early on Monday morning.

They were pictured leaving the "next generation Gentlemen's Club" by the backdoor around 6am after they had attended the World Rugby Awards on Sunday, when Carter had been crowned as World Player of the Year for the third time.

The team arrived in Auckland on Wednesday to a rapturous welcome from fans and will attend public events in the three main centres over the coming days.

A deafening roar broke out when the All Blacks came through the arrivals hall at Auckland International Airport with skipper Richie McCaw carrying the Rugby World Cup.

Thousands of supporters were on hand to welcome home the champions in a first for New Zealand rugby, following five failed overseas campaigns. The All Blacks previously had won the Rugby World Cup only on home soil, in 1987 and 2011.

The players immediately set about signing autographs and posing for selfies as McCaw and coach Steve Hansen addressed the crowd.

New Zealand's Rugby World Cup-winning All Blacks return home to a heroes' welcome in Auckland. Simon Watts/Getty Images McCaw thanked the large turnout at an early hour, which he said confirmed the support they could sense throughout their seven-week campaign in the United Kingdom.

"To bring this back is pretty awesome," McCaw said. "We're going to enjoy the next few days going around the country and saying thanks."

Hansen expressed his gratitude and lit up when asked about the silverware his team had won for the second straight tournament. "It's not too bad, is it," Hansen said. "We're starting to get used to having it around, too."

Departing five-eighth Dan Carter, one of seven squad members who have confirmed they won't play next year, said the reception was the perfect way to cap the highlight of his glittering career. "It's a dream homecoming really," Carter said. The guys have been pretty excited over the last 24 hours knowing that we were so close to getting back on home soil."

The All Blacks got an early taste of the excitement levels soon after landing, with a 30-strong ground crew performing a haka when the plane pulled to halt on the tarmac.

The number of fans built steadily as the All Blacks' flight arrival time approached, with many dressed in black and carrying flags and signs. They broke in chants of "All Blacks, All Blacks" at one stage, and there was a spontaneous rendition of the national them and then Pokarekare Ana before the players emerged into the arrivals hall and mixed with fans.

The All Blacks will be guests of honour at a celebration event at Victoria Park in central Auckland starting on Wednesday, and there will also be parades for the team in Christchurch on Thursday and in Wellington on Friday.

© AAP

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