Rugby World Cup 2019: All Blacks receive rousing farewell haka on departure for Japan

Air New Zealand staff have given the All Blacks the perfect send-off for the Rugby World Cup by performing a haka on the tarmac of Auckland Airport.

On Monday, the All Blacks departed for Japan, as they prepare to win the World Cup for the third consecutive time.  

About 60 Air New Zealand employees performed company's haka - Te Mangapare - followed by Ka Mate for All Blacks players Aaron Smith and Rieko Ioane, and mental skills coach Gilbert Enoka.

"This week, of course, marks the beginning of Māori Language Week, but this year is also the 20th anniversary of the first time the New Zealand national anthem was sung in te reo on the global stage," said Air New Zealand cultural development manager Henare Johnson.

"This paved the way for New Zealand to embrace a bilingual anthem.

"As the airline that's crazy about rugby, we were thrilled to be able to give the All Blacks - as ambassadors of our language, our country, and our people - a very special farewell ahead of their next big challenge in Japan. Kia kaha te Kapa ō Pango."

The All Blacks departed on time, despite concerns of Typhoon Faxai hammering parts of Japan, which has led to trains and flights in Tokyo being cancelled.

More than 900,000 people are without power, with reported wind gusts of 216km/h.

The Wallabies delayed their flights until Monday afternoon, due to high winds and heavy rain, after originally planning to depart Australia yesterday. 

The All Blacks are expected to land in Tokyo about 4pm local time, after an 11-hour flight, before heading to their team camp base.

New Zealand open the tournament with a highly anticipated clash with the Springboks in Yokohama on September 21.


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