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Last Updated: Thursday, 30 June, 2005, 08:54 GMT 09:54 UK
William arrives for NZ Lions tour
Prince William and Clive Woodward
Prince William met coach Clive Woodward at the team's hotel
Prince William has arrived in New Zealand to join the British and Irish Lions on their rugby tour.

The prince, dressed in a suit and tie, was met at Wellington airport by New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark.

The prince was greeted by around 150 well-wishers. He will join Lions training sessions and see their second and third tests against the All Blacks.

Prince William, 23, will also carry out his first solo engagements during his 10-day visit to the region.

The prince, who is second in line to the throne, will represent the Queen at ceremonies in Wellington and Auckland to mark the anniversary of the end of World War II.

Jokes

William met Will Greenwood, Brian O'Driscoll, Gareth Thomas and Gordon Bulloch - who represented each of the four Lions international teams - in the lobby of the squad's hotel in Wellington.
Prince William (third from left) talks with British and Irish Lions coach, Sir Clive Woodward (Left) and squad members Will Greenwood, Gordon Bulloch, Gareth Thomas and Brian O'Driscoll
William joked with squad members during a photocall

The 6ft 3in prince, who is accustomed to being larger than most people, jokingly attempted to make himself appear more muscular when he stood next to the sturdy rugby players during a brief photocall.

He told onlookers: "I've got to look bigger," while laughing, raising his shoulders near his ears and nodding towards England centre Greenwood on his right.

The prince joined the players for a team lunch ahead of a training session with them on Friday.

'Privilege and an honour'

Scottish captain Bulloch said the Lions were glad to have Williams' support.

"Hopefully he'll come out and kick a ball about. He's meant to be quite good," the hooker said.

The prince, who graduated from St Andrews university last week, said earlier it would be a "privilege and an honour" to meet some of New Zealand's war veterans.

He also said he was excited about seeing the rugby as well as New Zealand's famous scenery.

"As a huge rugby fan, I cannot think of a better place to watch what will hopefully be a hard-fought and exciting Test series," he said.


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