Pupils kick things off with the big leagues

A Dunedin primary school helped the All Blacks sharpen their kicking before their season opener against England.

All Blacks Caleb Clarke, Ofa Tu’ungafasi and Emoni Narawa paid a special visit to George Street Normal School yesterday.

Teacher Joanne Henderson said the school was celebrating the All Blacks.

She said the school’s pupils were dressed up in either All Blacks kits or a colour of a sports team that was significant to them.

During morning tea the school had "the great kicking competition".

"We’ve got children from each class having a go to see if they can out-kick the All Blacks."

Unfortunately, although the sun was out, the grounds were a bit wet and the conditions were not favourable for kicking long distances.

"It’s a little bit slippery, although I did see Caleb Clarke and I thought he’d be able to boot a good kick," Ms Henderson said.

The pupils were very excited and the school was incredibly appreciative of the opportunity to host the All Blacks, Ms Henderson said.

Pupil Lucy McDonald, 10, said it was pretty cool to see the All Blacks and how tall they were.

Lucy and her classmate Meila King, 10, interviewed the players about where they were from, what position they played, the team they played on and what success meant to them.

Later, they introduced them at a school assembly.

Three other All Blacks, fullback Stephen Perofeta, flanker Samipeni Finau and rookie Wallace Sititi, attended a function at the Dunedin Railway Station to thank some of the region’s rugby volunteers.

The players mingled with men and women from around the province who have received nominations for the union’s volunteer of the month initiative.