Swansea bids farewell to the All Blacks, after University hosts the world champions

The New Zealand rugby team, reigning world champions, have said farewell to Swansea, after training at Swansea University’s sports facilities ahead of this weekend’s Rugby World Cup quarter-final against France.

Swansea University is a team base for the Rugby World Cup 2015 and has already hosted the Fijian and Canadian teams.   The teams have been using the University’s top-class sports facilities, which have previously been used for major events such as the IPC Paralympic Games in 2014.  

All BlacksThe All Blacks are the current holders of the Rugby World Cup, having won the 2011 tournament in front of their home fans, defeating France 8-7 in the final. 

This time, having won their pool, they face France in the quarter-final at the Millennium Stadium, in a repeat of the fixture in 2007 which saw them lose unexpectedly to the French, in one of the greatest games in the history of the Rugby World Cup. 

All Black flanker Jerome Kaino, speaking at Swansea University, said:

"We’re very excited about this week.  There’s lots of history between these two teams and if we don’t perform we go home.  So we’re putting all our energy into giving a 110% performance."

The team have been making themselves at home in Swansea, walking around the city centre and meeting fans.

Outside-half Dan Carter tweeted a view of the sunset over Swansea Bay which was shared around the world on social media:

"Not a bad night here in Swansea. This is the view from my room."

Siwan Lillicrap of Swansea University, team base co-ordinator for the Rugby World Cup, who was the link between the University and the All Blacks, said. 

“It has been a pleasure to host the All Blacks here at Swansea University.   They’ve been using our gym, our sports pavilion and our principal rugby pitch as they prepare for the knockout phase of the tournament.   

It’s good to know that our facilities are of a standard suitable for world champions.  Our sports facilities team have all done a great job, especially John Courtney and his grounds team, who’ve made sure our pitch is in top condition.

We’ve already hosted the IPC European games, and we have the FISU World Student Rugby Sevens to come.  Now, with the All Blacks based here too, it shows that Swansea University has become a top-class facility for sport at the highest level.”

The Fijian team also appreciated the benefits of being in Swansea, during their time based at the University Sports Village:

Head Coach of Fiji John McKee said: 

“The facilities here at Swansea University have been excellent.  The staff have been really helpful, making sure everything is right for us”.