The All Blacks probably weren't expecting wood sawing, gumboot throwing or waiter racing to be a part of their training schedule this year, but that's exactly what some of the current All Blacks squad will be competing in over the next two months as they travel the country for the MasterCard All Blacks Roadshow.
Now in its third year, the MasterCard All Blacks Roadshow hosts a series of community events where local fans can get up close and personal with some of the current All Blacks and Rugby Legend, Buck Shelford, by competing in rugby challenges including; catching, try-scoring, kicking, passing and lineout skills.
Past Roadshows have seen members of the All Blacks squad and Buck visit 24 of New Zealand's cities and towns competing against the fans in the rugby challenges. However, this year the Roadshow will visit 6 New Zealand towns famous in their own right for some rather unique activities.
Waipu, Tokoroa, Taihape, West Coast (Reefton), Akaroa and Naseby will welcome the Roadshow and take on the All Blacks, not only at the Rugby challenges, but also their own local specialties - Caber Toss, Wood Sawing, Gumboot Throwing, Coal Shovelling, Waiter Racing and Curling.
These new local challenges will allow spectators to see some of the All Blacks as they've never seen them before!
All Black Captain, Richie McCaw says he's once again delighted to be a part of the MasterCard All Blacks Roadshow.
"This is my third year as a MasterCard ambassador and I always look forward to the Roadshow - it's a chance to meet our fans and get out amongst New Zealand communities.
"Even though I might be shown up on some of the local challenges this year, I'm proud to be a part of this wonderful opportunity thanks to MasterCard."
All Black Legend, Buck Shelford, says he's particularly looking forward to trying the Caber Toss.
"With my Scottish heritage, you'd think I might have a shot winning, but you never know! Either way it's going to be great fun taking on the locals and the All Blacks at all these new challenges."
Former All Black, Highland Games record holder and 2010 MasterCard All Blacks Roadshow competitor, Richard Guy believes the key to one of the local challenges - the Caber Toss, is to remain focused.
"The key to tossing cabers is balance, you need to control its every move so you can toss accurately.
"It will be amusing to see amateurs take on this challenge. I think even an All Black will find this sport difficult."
Stuart McKinlay, MasterCard New Zealand Country Manager says the roadshow is exciting for everyone involved, especially with rugby fever building up towards the Rugby World Cup in 2011, for which MasterCard is Worldwide Partner and official payment system.
"The MasterCard All Blacks Roadshow is a great reminder of what the All Blacks mean to our communities.
"To be able to bring our national heroes up close and personal with some of their biggest fans is such a pleasure.
"We can't wait to see the local residents take on the All Blacks and we're eagerly anticipating the outcome - let's hope they go easy on them... and by "they" I mean the residents."
For more information visit www.mastercardroadshow.co.nz
Dates and Locations