Ground crew for national carrier Air New Zealand performed a haka as the aircraft carrying the team taxied to its gate around 7am local time.— Air New Zealand (@FlyAirNZ) a welcome home fit for legends. #CrazyAboutRugby #WelcomeHome
On Wednesday morning, more than 2, 000 fans, many having waited since 4 am, cheered wildly when the team appeared in the terminal, led by captain Richie McCaw carrying the trophy.
McCaw called the support “amazing” and coach Steve Hansen described the welcome as “overwhelming”.All Blacks fans welcome home the team at Auckland airport. Photograph: Michael Bradley/AFP/Getty Images
Flyhalf Dan Carter said: “There’s happiness that all that hard work has paid off. It’s just such a special feeling.”
The team then made their way to Auckland’s Victoria Park, where huge crowds had gathered in the rain to see the world-beating players, who paraded past fans, signing autographs and posing for photographs.
Finally making it to the stage, McCaw led the team – and the Webb Ellis Cup – on to the platform, to the song Men in Black.— Sam Boyer (@SamJBoyer)
8yo Ava Anderson was too shy to pose for a picture. But her poster for @SonnyBWilliams was too cute. #AllBlacks
Addressing the crowd of thousands, McCaw said: “Seeing you all here has made it all worthwhile.
The team has a victory parade through central Auckland later on Wednesday, and further parades will be held in Christchurch on Thursday and Wellington on Friday.