Huge Crowds Welcome All Blacks Home

Huge roars of excitement and applause rang through Auckland Airport this morning as the winning All Blacks walked into the arrivals lounge to approximately 3,500 adoring fans.

The terminal was packed as fans jostled to see the rugby world champions.

The team walked through the doors together, captain Richie McCaw holding the gleaming Webb Ellis Cup.

Speaking to fans from a stage, McCaw said it felt "pretty awesome" to bring home the trophy.

The team "really appreciated" the support fans had given them from home, he said.

The skipper said he was "glad to be home" and would "enjoy the next few days".

Coach Steve Hansen said the welcome was "overwhelming".

Olivia Kneebone got up at 2.30am to make sure she would be in prime position to meet her idols.

The 10-year-old from Matamata was with her mum Inge Schiffer and a group of friends who made the journey to be at Auckland Airport by 5am.

At the front of the crowd, the excited fan said she couldn't wait to meet the boys - in particular her favourite player Ma'a Nonu.

Dan Carter said the crowd at Auckland Airport was "unreal".

"It's a dream homecoming ... it's been a long time away and we've had some amazing supporters back home."

Coach Steve Hansen said the crowd was "overwhelming".

"We expected to have a bit of a crowd here, but this is amazing."

Sam Cane said he was "blown away" by the reaction.

"We heard a little bit while we were away through friends and social media that the country was going pretty nuts, but to come back and see this sort of support at this time in the morning is just mind blowing and takes away any jetlag or any tiredness.

"We are just extremely grateful for all this support."

Cane said it would be a "busy couple of days" with the welcome home parades planned throughout the country, but said "it's the people like this who support us that make it so much special".

Where to see the All Blacks

 The All Blacks will soon make their way to Victoria Park where an event to welcome them home and congratulate their achievement will get under way at noon.

The celebration is expected to wrap up at 2pm.

People are being encouraged to take buses, cycle or walk to the park.

From Auckland, the team will fly to Christchurch where residents will get to welcome the team with a parade.

Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel said the team would travel through part of the central city on the back of utes then have a public reception in Hagley Park.

"I was inundated with requests for a homecoming parade from the moment the final whistle blew," Ms Dalziel said.

"I know there will be a big turnout for captain Richie McCaw and Man of the Match Dan Carter along with the other Canterbury players, and the team.

"I remember an All Blacks coach saying that the All Blacks wasn't a team of champions, it was a champion team and we will welcome them as a team who have done us proud."
The parade will start at 2.30pm at the corner of Rolleston Avenue and Hereford Street, travel along Park Terrace, ending at the corner of Park Terrace and finishing prior to Bealey Avenue.

At 3.15pm the team will arrive at Hagley Park for a Mayoral welcome and public reception.
Parking will be available in Hagley Park from 12pm to 2pm.

Hereford St, Park terrace, Rolleston Ave and Kilmore St will be closed while the parade is on.

Wellingtonians will line the streets to celebrate the All Blacks' victory on Friday.

Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown said fans "young and old" were encouraged to turn out to the event.

"Wellingtonians and visitors will join together in congratulating the All Blacks on an outstanding World Cup campaign crowned with a magnificent final performance.

"The central city will be bursting at the seams with proud All Blacks fans on Friday lunchtime," she said.

A brief welcome outside Parliament would kick off at 11.30am after which the parade would head off, along the Golden Mile to a major welcome in Civic Square.

The All Blacks would leave Parliament about 12pm, onto Lambton Quay and Willis St then Mercer St before arriving at Civic Square between 1pm and 1.30pm.

Source- NZ Herald