All Blacks draw big crowd in Oamaru

Leon Searle (4) of Oamaru, gets advice on passing from All Blacks great Buck Shelford at the All...
Leon Searle (4) of Oamaru, gets advice on passing from All Blacks great Buck Shelford at the All Blacks road show in Oamaru yesterday. Photo by David Bruce.
About 1200 people in Oamaru have All Black captain Richie McCaw to thank for yesterday being the first town to be visited by the All Blacks road show, after its launch in Dunedin at the weekend.

The Mastercard road show, designed to bring the All Blacks' experience to grassroots rugby supporters, was a big hit, some people coming from Dunedin to take part.

It was McCaw who asked, when the road show's timetable was being drawn up, to include Oamaru in the itinerary.

He wanted to give something back to North Otago, where he played his early rugby.

"I thought it was a good place to start," he said.

As a schoolboy being raised in the Hakataramea Valley, McCaw played rugby for Kurow, including travelling to Oamaru for matches.

"I played a fair bit here because it was close to home," he said.

After the road show, McCaw travelled to Christchurch to rejoin the All Blacks squad.

He is looking forward to light training, along with physiotherapy, so he can get back into the team after suffering an ankle injury in the first Tri Nations match against South Africa.

Yesterday, when the road show arrived at Takaro Park, there was already a crowd waiting for it to be set up at 11am.

The good attendance continued until the show packed up about 3pm to move on to Christchurch.

In Oamaru, McCaw and former All Black Buck Shelford were mobbed for autographs and photographs.

The road show features a series of five rugby challenges to give supporters a chance to test themselves.

These include testing themselves under a high ball, pushing over for a try, passing left and right, throwing into a lineout and kicking a goal from a variety of angles, all within inflatables like bouncy castles.


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