25 Oct 2011

Christchurch takes turn for victory parade

9:53 pm on 25 October 2011

The All Blacks were given a noisy welcome by tens of thousands of fans in Christchurch as they madee a victory parade through the central city.

The parade began at 3.30pm and took the All Blacks, coaches and team management through the city, within blocks of the downtown areas destroyed by February's earthquake, to finish at the Fanzone in Havley Park.

Team members stopped and spoke with fans including hundreds of school children, many of them wearing school uniforms.

Some schools let their students leave early to catch the victory parade.

All Black captain Richie McCaw told the jubilant crowd Christchurch support for team has been particularly motivating for the team and he was happy bring it to the city.

Hundreds had earlier gathered at Christchurch airport to greet the world champion team as they arrived just after midday.

They waved banners and cheered as the captain Richie McCaw held the Webb Ellis Cup aloft.

On the flight from Auckland, flanker Keiran Read told reporters how much it meant to him to be bringing the Webb Ellis Cup to his hometown.

He said Christchurch people had been with the team the whole way through and it was "great" to be able to show the trophy off to them.

Wellington will have its chance to salute the team when they attend a parade through the central city to Parliament on Wednesday.