All Blacks get star treatment in Buenos Aires

CHRIS BARCLAY
Last updated 05:00 27/09/2012
Victor Vito
Photosport
VICTOR VITO: The All Blacks flanker is unlikely to turn out for Wellington in the NPC despite only having limited game time in recent months.

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It's one way to "beat" the traffic - strong-arm tactics are easing the All Blacks through the congested autopistas and avenidas of Buenos Aires as motorists see red.

Argentina's sporting passion revolves around football, but New Zealand's rugby world champions are being accorded rock-star-style security as they make their way to and from an exclusive private school in otherwise down-at-heel Quilmes, the suburb that lends its name to the country's pre-eminent brewery.

The 20-kilometre journey from the Argentine capital's CBD could take an average porteno forever, but with a motorcycle escort of burly, baton-wielding police, the All Blacks avoid one quintessential South American experience, the traffic jam.

"There's probably a few disgruntled motorists out there," loose forward Victor Vito said after the team's double decker bus returned to base in double quick time.

"I saw one of them [police] grab a baton and hit another car, the guy was giving it the old ‘bird'. The police entourage is something new; they're looking after us really well."

Unfortunately All Black fans in the capital for Sunday's Rugby Championship test at La Plata have not fared so well on Buenos Aires occasionally mean streets.

Five of the 300 members of an Air New Zealand charter flight have reportedly been pick-pocketed or mugged in the downtown area so far.

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