Best of social! The Lions visit communities in Auckland

All 41 members of the 2017 British & Irish Lions squad visited 12 different sites in the North Auckland community on Friday afternoon. [more]

Best of social! The Lions visit communities in Auckland

Split up into groups of three or four with nationalities intermingled, the Lions visited seven schools, three hospitals and two retirement villages on their way to Whangarei for tomorrow’s Tour opener.

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At each community visit the players met, mingled and exchanged gifts, and we’ve rounded up the best of the reaction from the players themselves who loved getting their first up close and personal meeting with the locals.

First up were Dan Cole, Jonathan Davies and CJ Stander who went to Northcross Intermediate School, not far from QBE Stadium.

There they were greeted by students aged 11-13 who bombarded them with questions and showered them with gifts and Kiwiana – icons from New Zealand’s heritage.

Meanwhile James Haskell, Jack Nowell and Sean O’Brien were being greeted by a haka at Whangarei Boys High School by the school’s first XV.

Great afternoon spent in Whangarei boys high school! Got a super welcome with the senior boys performing the Haka. @britishandirishlions #allforone

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After that the trio fielded questions before signing autographs and posing for photos with the kids.

Road trip with the @britishandirishlions to visit a school in Whangarei! Q+A with @jacknowell @seanobrien678. Its been long and the chat has run dry.

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Liam Williams, Jack McGrath and George North were at Rangitoto College as all players in the non-match 23 for Saturday’s game spent time in the local community.

It was not just schools however, as hospitals were also on the agenda – Robbie Henshaw, Maro Itoje and Ken Owens arriving at Waitakere Hospital to brighten the patients’ day.

Courtney Lawes, Conor Murray and Jared Payne went to Waitekere Retirement Village to pay their respects to the elderly community in the country while Leigh Halfpenny, Peter O’Mahony and Dan Biggar were at Mayfair Retirement Village handing out gifts and meeting the locals.

Members of the match 23 were also charged with finding souvenirs for the Lions team room and Joe Marler, Justin Tipuric and Iain Henderson were at Kamo High School.

Click here for all the best images from training at QBE Stadium

Alun Wyn Jones, Jonathan Joseph and Rory Best were at Kristin School while Jamie George, Tommy Seymour and Tadgh Furlong were at Mahurangi College.

Road trip to Kristin school with @jonathanjoseph0 & @rorybest2 thanks for the hospitality @britishandirishlions

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Mako Vunipola, George Kruis, Elliot Daly and Rhys Webb handed out their gifts and answered questions at Orewa College.

And skipper Sam Warburton was joined by Ben Te’o and Kyle Sinckler at Whangarei Hospital while Taulupe Faletau, Anthony Watson and Ross Moriarty were at Kensington Hospital.

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