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All Blacks lay wreaths for WWI victims

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 23/11/2016 Angelo Risso

The All Blacks during training at the Suresnes Rugby Club on November 22, 2016 in Paris, France. © Phil Walter/Getty Images The All Blacks during training at the Suresnes Rugby Club on November 22, 2016 in Paris, France. The All Blacks have paid their respects to the victims of World War I at a wreath-laying ceremony in Paris.

Assistant coach Ian Foster and 11 players, including vice-captain Ben Smith, took part in the Arc de Triomphe ceremony on Wednesday, which occurs each evening at 6:30pm.

Representatives from the New Zealand embassy in Paris, including ambassador James Kember, were also present.

A torch at the base of the Arc was rekindled, and wreaths were laid by Foster and Steven Luatua at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Smith and Ofa Tu'ungafasi then recorded their thoughts in the visitors' book.

The ceremony has taken place each evening since Remembrance Day in 1923.

"It's awesome and great to pay our respects on behalf of the All Blacks tonight," Smith said.

"It's a pretty special place to come and tour and this is an example of that."

More than 18,000 New Zealanders died in The Great War, with more than two-thirds of the casualties coming on the Western Front.

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