After arriving in New Zealand at close to midnight on Monday, it was a busy first day for the Sharks squad of 21 players participating in the Community Carnival and then the upcoming Auckland Nines event.
First up the Sharks got down to the business of training on the Lincoln University playing fields and were run through their paces by former All Blacks 7’s player, now Canterbury 7’s rugby coach Jason Tia Tia, who offered a few tips about what to expect with less players on the field and more space to work in, as they will experience under the unique Nines format.
Following training the Sharks playing group conducted a junior clinic at the NZ Institute of Sport headquarters in Christchurch for school children and junior league players, with over 300 youngsters participating.
The kids enjoyed the interaction with the Sharks NRL group as they put them through a series of fun footy related skills and drills.
Later in the afternoon Andrew Fifita, Ricky Leutele and young gun Valentine Holmes went to the local Ronald McDonald House where they spent an hour mingling with kids and their parents, signing autographs and posing for photos.
The Sharks Community interaction continues tomorrow with visits to four schools where the Sharks will deliver the NRL’s ‘Tackle Bullying’ initiative and communicate the important messages the program provides, while a group of players will make a special call on a local area nursing home.
In between all of that there are some media commitments for the high profile players in the squad, then there is some training thrown in as well, as the Sharks continue their preparations for the Auckland Nines which begins on Saturday.