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In pictures: BOD and the boys touch down in Queenstown

The Irish rugby squad arrived in New Zealand this morning — and even belted out a little bit of Christy Moore for those who turned out to welcome them.

Paul O'Connell is welcomed by a member of a Kapa Haka group.
Paul O'Connell is welcomed by a member of a Kapa Haka group.
Image: ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

AFTER ALMOST TWO full days of travelling, you can almost forgive Brian O’Driscoll for not knowing which country he was in.

Shortly after 4am BST this morning, the Irish skipper and his travelling team-mates touched down in Queenstown, New Zealand, their base for the pool stages of the Rugby World Cup.

Hundreds of green-clad locals and Irish ex-pats packed the town’s airport to welcome the squad, with O’Driscoll thanking them for their efforts — albeit with a slight geographical slip.

“I have to say how absolutely blown away we are by both the people of Queensland and this load of paddies,” the centre said before quickly correcting himself. “Sorry, Queenstown, I should say.”

And most importantly, thanks to all these children who have come in with all these Irish flags and done an incredible job.

The welcome wasn’t just about signing autographs and posing for photos with the young supporters, though there was plenty of that.

On arrival, a group of locals greeted the squad with a traditional Maori Powhiri, and in return, BOD led his merry men in a rendition of Christy Moore’s classic Ride On.

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The team train for the first time in New Zealand tomorrow, and are expected to stay in Queenstown until Wednesday when they depart to prepare for their World Cup opener against the USA in New Plymouth on 11 September.

In pictures: BOD and the boys touch down in Queenstown
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  • In pictures: BOD and the boys touch down in Queenstown

    Source: ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan
  • In pictures: BOD and the boys touch down in Queenstown

    Source: ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan
  • In pictures: BOD and the boys touch down in Queenstown

    Source: ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan
  • In pictures: BOD and the boys touch down in Queenstown

    Source: ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan
  • In pictures: BOD and the boys touch down in Queenstown

    Source: ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan
  • In pictures: BOD and the boys touch down in Queenstown

    Source: ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan
  • In pictures: BOD and the boys touch down in Queenstown

    Source: ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan
  • In pictures: BOD and the boys touch down in Queenstown

    Source: ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan
  • In pictures: BOD and the boys touch down in Queenstown

    Source: ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan
  • In pictures: BOD and the boys touch down in Queenstown

    Source: ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

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Niall Kelly

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