By Erin Bishop
It was hard to pick who was more excited to meet Richie McCaw yesterday – the kids hanging on his every word, the dads looking on in awe, or the mums with the sparkle in their eyes.
Parks were hard to come by at the Ashburton Domain when the Mastercard All Blacks Road Show hit town with McCaw and fellow injured All Black Andrew Hore in tow to answer questions, sign autographs and test their skills against many of Mid Canterbury’s youngsters.
Five large inflatable challenges included throwing to the lineout, pushing over the line with a horizontal bungee, passing left and right, kicking a goal and being tested under the high ball.
McCaw and former All Black legend Buck Shelford went head to head on the horizontal bungee before Hore showed the kids how throwing to a lineout was done – although he missed a few and proved that even an All Black isn’t perfect.
njury while Hore injured his ribs in the first minute of the first French test three weeks ago, which the All Blacks went on to lose.Hore hasn’t had such a good time with the All Blacks lately.
Before the French game, his last All Blacks appearance was against the Wallabies in Hong Kong where he broke his ankle in the second minute of the game.
Both players know all too well that injuries are part and parcel of sport.
That’s why, despite finding it hard on the sidelines, they’ve been pleased with what they’ve seen the All Blacks produce the past few weeks with players like Ashburton born lock Isaac Ross coming into the fold.
Blooding new players like that is adding to the All Blacks’ depth, they say.Hore said Ross showed he was more than capable in the All Blacks environment in Saturday night’s win over Italy.
Things like the road show didn’t exist when Hore and McCaw were growing up in Central Otago, but McCaw did remember John Timu visiting his school.
“I remember when I was back on those guys’ shoes,” he said as he took in the large crowd of adoring young fans who hung on his every word yesterday.
He said the big cities got the test matches so it was great to be a part of something like the road show, which allowed the players to get out amongst the smaller communities.
The All Blacks have a week off to freshen up now and Hore is hopeful of making his comeback on the club rugby scene with Maniatoto next week.
Both Hore and McCaw plan on being there for the first Tri-Nations match against Australia in Auckland on July 18, before heading off on a tough two-game South African mission.