All Blacks bowled over by Black Caps' World Cup semifinal heroics in Manchester

All Blacks duo Ben Smith and Aaron Smith head to Thursday's gym session in Auckland.
BRETT PHIBBS/PHOTOSPORT
All Blacks duo Ben Smith and Aaron Smith head to Thursday's gym session in Auckland.

The All Blacks found themselves on a sticky wicket at their training camp in Auckland this week, with the Black Caps' Cricket World Cup heroics playing havoc with their beauty sleep.

With Hansen's squad gearing up preparations for their opening test of their own World Cup year in Buenos Aires on July 20, their cricketing cohorts' thrilling semifinal victory over India spread over two late nights back in New Zealand had a fair few sports-mad All Blacks staying up late into the evening at their team hotel.

Experienced squad members Ben Smith and Anton Lienert-Brown confirmed that the victorious efforts of the New Zealand cricketers in Manchester had been well roared on from within the All Blacks hotel, with a few bleary eyes evident on the training fields on Thursday morning.

"So good," said Smith when asked about the Black caps' feats at a media appearance on Thursday. "Yeah, last night I couldn't really turn the telly off. We had training this morning but I just kept watching last night. It was awesome to see the boys get the job done."

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Added Lienert-Brown: "It was pretty inspiring stuff … it's been a couple of late nights for the boys. If we can speed this up so we can get a nap in over lunch, that would be great."

There are plenty of cricket tragics in the All Blacks, including the Barrett brothers and skipper Kieran Read, and Smith said assistant coach Ian Foster had also presented a little short on sleep after staying up to take in the entire match.

"I think the whole country does [get into it] … it's pretty exciting switching on the telly and seeing them go about their work. It's going to be interesting watching the final and getting in behind them."

Asked at what stage the excitement really kicked in, Smith said: "I was fist-pumping after the third wicket, when we had them 5-3." Added Lienert-Brown: "Neesham's catch was pretty special, then Guppy's run out ... that was probably the key moment in the game."

But now comes the true challenge. The final gets under way on Sunday night (NZT) while most of the All Blacks will be in BA preparing for the opening test of the Rugby Championship. Not exactly the centre of the cricketing universe.

"I'm sure we'll find a way to watch it," said Lienert-Brown, with senior figure Smith promising: "We'll make it happen."

The All Blacks are targeting their own slice of World Cup history in Japan this year as they shoot for a third straight crown. They would love nothing better than to see their cricketing mates tick off their first at Lord's when the global ODI tournament comes to its conclusion on Sunday.

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