From the heights which they achieved in the Rugby World Cup to touch down in New Zealand. There was a traditional ‘Haka’ welcome from the airport staff in Auckland for the All Blacks.
Hundreds of cheering crowds applauded their heroes as they entered the arrivals hall.
Outside the players, who created rugby history when they became the first side to retain the Webb Ellis trophy walked among the crowd.
For several of the all conquering All Blacks the third win in the tournament’s history will mark their last appearance in the iconic black jersey including the man who orchestrated the world champion’s victory with a sparkling display in the final at Twickenham.
“It’s going to be sad to think that I’m no longer playing for the All Blacks but I’ve had a fantastic time and loved every minute of it,” Dan Carter told the crowd.
Hailed as the greatest side to have played the game after their 34 -17 win over Australia this was the first of three victory parades for the All Blacks.
Arriving back home too – the vanquished. It was a quieter welcome for the Wallabies at Sydney airport after what was an impressive campaign in the tournament.
There was applause and cheers for the Aussies who had left their home shores with many believing the side would not pose a significant threat in the tournament.