Biden meets the All Blacks

US Vice President Joe Biden and All Black Jerome Kaino
US Vice President Joe Biden and All Black Jerome Kaino

The US Vice President was thrilled to meet members of the All Blacks during his whirlwind visit to New Zealand, having watched them play in Ireland as a young senator.

Joe Biden managed to fit in a last-minute photo-op with Charlie Faumuina and Jerome Kaino at the Langham Hotel on Thursday which wasn't originally on the itinerary.

Turning on the trademark charm, Mr Biden told the boys in black he didn't want to cause offence to anyone else - but they were the real reason he came to New Zealand.

Mr Biden was gifted a personalised All Blacks jersey with a number 15 on the back, and now thinks he's ready to sub in at fullback.

"Put me in, coach," he said.

Mr Biden was officially welcomed at Government House in Auckland on Thursday.

During the joint news conference with Prime Minister John Key which followed, Mr Biden, a former rugby player himself, recounted how he once joined his rugby-playing brother on a trip to Ireland to watch the All Blacks play.

"When I was a young senator during a recess period, [my brother] said the All Blacks are playing four matches in Ireland, so we packed up and we followed them all through Ireland, there was nothing but carnage left behind. I am a real fan."  

He said he'd played rugby "400 years ago" in law school and also played American football in college.