Saturday, September 01, 2007

All Blacks are having fun in Corsica. Match vs. Italy is in 6 days...

All Blacks touch down
By GREG FORD - Fairfax Media
Friday, 31 August 2007

The All Blacks have arrived in France. The team touched down in Corsica under the cloak of darkness about 7am (New Zealand time) this morning.
A small but boisterous crowd of about 200 locals greeted the team amind tight security.
About 30 police escorted the All Blacks as they walked from the arrivals area in the airport to the team bus.
Some squad members, weary after 40 hours travelling, acquiesced to pleas from fans and stopped to sign autographs.
But the majority filed onto a bus and taken to the team hotel under police escort.
Earlier in the day Gendarmerie, plus private security staff, spent several hours checking the team's hotel.
Cars going to and from the hotel were checked for credentials.
Management of the Sofitel Thalassa Hotel in Porticcio told Fairfax Media the police presence would act as a deterrent for curious sightseers.
They added they hoped the team would go all but unnoticed at their private hideaway situated at the end of a small peninsula with only one way in and one way out.
The All Blacks have come to Corsica off the south coast of France to help recover from their trip from New Zealand.
The latest school of thought on recovery from jet lag is that sunlight speeds up the process.
On arrival the sun was just setting about 9pm local time and the team, with the odd exception, went straight to bed.
Apart from those who came to the airport most of the islands' inhabitants were blissfully unaware the rugby world cup favourites would soon be in their midst.
All Black manager Darren Shand was to conduct the team's only official engagement tonight - a short press conference with a large team of Kiwi and French media in Corsica.
Over the next 48 hours the team will lounge poolside at the resort where Europe's rich and famous come to play.
And if they get bored with that an endless array of leisure activities are on offer from sailing, jet skiing to diving on the island's many private coves.
The good news is temperatures reached a very pleasant 28 degrees in Corsica today and are forecast to top 30 degrees for the duration of their stay.


All Blacks revel in island heat
By GREG FORD in Corsica - Fairfax Media
Saturday, 1 September 2007

When Dan Carter flips open the fridge in his hotel room in Corsica today he will find a bottle of Moet and assorted goodies you would not find in your average hotel mini bar. Should his All Black skipper, Richie McCaw, venture outside he will find about a dozen young starlets sunbathing topless poolside.
From the restaurant adjoining the pool, team-mates will be able to pass McCaw every gourmet treat under the sun, most of it fresh from the Mediterranean lapping at the hotel's edge.
And should any of the players get sick of their idyllic surrounds there is always a spot of diving, fishing or even golf to be had.
Welcome to Corsica, the playground of Europe's rich and famous.
The island is home to the All Blacks for the next three days before they start their epic seven-week campaign to bring home world rugby's holy grail: the Webb Ellis Cup.
Such luxury does not come cheap.
A night at the Sofitel Thalassa Hotel in Porticcio, where the All Blacks are staying, starts from about C200 ($NZ386).
The hotel, secluded at the end of a peninsula not far from the island's main centre, Ajaccio, has 100 rooms.
The clientele are wealthy Europeans looking to make the most of its facilities.
A jaunt to the hotel's beauty spa will set you back anywhere from C100 to C1000 depending on the level of service required.
Several members of the squad, including coach Graham Henry, have fishing excursions planned.
Others plan to stay closer to home and soak up the Corsican climate: the reason the team is here.
The latest school of thought among sport scientists is that sunlight enhances recovery from jet lag.
Temperatures were expected to reach 30deg in Corsica today.
When the team arrived yesterday it was under the cover of darkness.
Most went straight to bed.
But late last night several could be seen exploring the confines of the hotel after a quick bite to eat.
Security was tight for the team's arrival.
About 30 police helped keep a small, but boisterous, crowd of about 200 fans at bay at Corsica Airport to see the All Blacks arrive in France.
A core group of about six security staff with backgrounds in the French Special Forces will accompany the team throughout the tournament.
They and a team of gendarmerie spent several hours at the team's hotel before they arrived, and stopped cars coming in and out of the premises to the bemusement of some locals unfamiliar with such formalities.
The All Blacks leave Corsica on Monday and travel to Marseilles where they play Italy in their opening game of the tournament on the morning of Sunday, September 9 (NZ Time).


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