All Blacks overshadowed in Argentina

Sun, 23 Sep 2012 17:26
Large stevehansenallblacks3 Large coryjaneinterview Large carter bends630

The All Blacks were met by muted scenes upon their arrival in Buenos Aires on Sunday.

The All Blacks were met by muted scenes upon their arrival in Buenos Aires on Sunday.

Making their first visit to Argentina since 2006, the world champions made a low-key arrival as they were welcomed at the airport by just of handful of supporters.

Any hopes of a greater reception in the city were dashed when passionate supporters of Club Atletico Independiente, one of Argentina’s top football clubs, let off fireworks outside a local hotel in the build up to a local Primera match, oblivious of the high-profile visitors.

Even at the All Blacks’ hotel, the team weren’t the main attraction, with a wedding being the focal point.

Only six players in the 28-man touring squad, namely Dan Carter, Piri Weepu, Tony Woodcock, Andrew Hore, Ma’a Nonu and Richie McCaw, were part of the New Zealand set-up that last visited Pumas country six years ago.

Utility back Cory Jane said he expects a tough encounter but is relishing the occasion. "A few of the guys who have been here in the past have said it's a tough place to play, we'll have our work cut out but it'll be good," said Jane.

"They play on passion so we have to try and quieten them down as much as we can. If they get their heads up it's going to be a tough day."

All Black coach Steve Hansen, who served as Graham Henry's assistant in 2006, said he was fully aware of the challenge that awaits his team.

"I understand what we're going to walk into. There's a lot of passion and excitement about sport over here, particularly soccer and rugby's not far behind it,” said Hansen.  

"They'll grow and arm and a leg, we'll need to grow one too."

Hansen added that Carter should be available for selection. "DC's come through the week reasonably good and he sounds confident. As long as he doesn't have any setbacks he should be fine," said Hansen.