5 Nov 2015

Christchurch parade the best for McCaw

6:11 pm on 5 November 2015

All Blacks captain Richie McCaw has told thousands of cheering fans in Christchurch's Hagley Park today's Rugby World Cup victory parade edges out yesterday's in Auckland.

All Blacks captail Richie McCaw, left, and coach Steve Hansen during a victory parade in Christchurch.

All Blacks captail Richie McCaw, left, and coach Steve Hansen during a victory parade in Christchurch. Photo: RNZ / Sally Murphy

The All Blacks were given a hero's welcome in central Christchurch this afternoon, with more than 10,000 lining the streets and turning out to Hagley Park.

The team arrived back in New Zealand yesterday after beating Australia 34-17 in the World Cup final, with thousands of Aucklanders turning out to welcome them home.

Today's parade travelled through parts of the central city and into Hagley Park, where team members were officially welcomed by Christchurch mayor Lianne Dalziel.

McCaw told the crowd while it was a great day yesterday, Christchurch had turned it on today with the weather and a great crowd - though he admitted he was biased as a Cantabrian.

He thanked supporters, saying even though they were on the other side of the world, the team knew they were being supported by fans back home.

"Can i just say thank you to everyone who has got up early in the morning and watched and supported.

"We're just so proud to have been able to do the job."

McCaw, one of six All Blacks who played their rugby in Christchurch, said bringing the Rugby World Cup back to the city had been extra special.

Christchurch Boy's High School closed for the day so students could attend the parade and wave on former students, including coach Steve Hansen.

Many of the fans turned up hours early to secure a spot, many with handwritten signs and messages of support for the team.

All Black captain Richie McCaw

All Blacks captain and Canterbury mainstay Richie McCaw Photo: AFP

McCaw had been expected to announce his retirement after the tournament but today Canterbury Rugby chief executive Hamish Riach said the All Blacks captain was not done yet.

"I don't think he has ever said anything about retiring - other people have for him. I would like to think that seeing as there is a gap there now, with five or six of them going to other parts of the world to play the game, that he may stay on and help Steve [Hansen] over the next couple of years and finish after the British Lions tours in 2017."

The All Blacks will travel to Wellington for celebrations in the capital tomorrow.

Watch a video of RNZ presenter John Campbell at the team's arrival in New Zealand at Auckland Airport here:

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