Undies all that ABs need
All they have to worry about is their undies and their jeans. For All Blacks on their end-of-year northern hemisphere tour, everything else is taken care of by sponsors.
Before they left for Europe, they met in Auckland in late October for their annual muster of freebies.
The world champs received phones from Telecom, dress suits and coats from Barkers, plus a plethora of goodies from principal sponsor adidas - including up to six types of footwear, myriad T-shirts, sweaters, jackets, socks and training gear, and belts, sunglasses and luggage.
At the time, Dan Carter tweeted about the haul: "Xmas has come early for me. Back in All Blacks camp and picked up some flash new gears . . . Sooooo many shoes to choose from."
But it hasn't solved all their problems. Carter tweeted from Cardiff this week, asking his followers where he could get his jeans mended: "Got a hole in my favourite jeans. Where is a good tailor in Cardiff #bigarse."
And Cory Jane revealed an underwear quandary in Rome that was forcing him to sleep "commando".
"Hope my washing has come back . . . I put it in a couple days ago to get done and still no sign of it . . . #Running-Out-Of-Clean-Undies."
The All Blacks are unique among adidas' stable of top-flight sports teams in being dressed head to toe, according to marketing manager Nadia Scott. Even football world champions Spain don't get such comprehensive pampering.
"The All Blacks' contract with adidas is the only head-to-toe agreement for any of our sports teams globally," she said.
"When the team heads into camp, we need to make sure we have provided them with enough product to meet their on and off-field requirements for . . . that particular tour," she said.
It's all a far cry from the amateur touring days. Mick Bremner, 82, an All Blacks five-eighth in 1952 and 1956, and vice-captain on the 1960 South African tour, said the current stock of professionals were "on easy street".
All Blacks back in his day took their own boots when travelling, and trained in their provincial or club kits.
There were only 15 playing jerseys, which were washed between games and swapped between players if necessary.
They were fitted out with a playing strip and their No 1s, receiving an emblazoned kitbag, two dress shirts, a pullover, a pair of slacks, socks, a tie, a blazer and two pairs of shorts.
Bremner said players in provincial areas would take a hat around their communities before a tour to raise money so their families could survive while they were away.
"We thought the gear was magnificent," Bremner said.