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All Blacks send support after quakes

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 14/11/2016 Angelo Risso

All Blacks players were frantically texting loved ones from Rome Airport on Monday after hearing of the earthquakes battering their country.

Two people have been confirmed dead after an earthquake measuring 7.5 on the Richter Scale struck north Canterbury on Monday morning, followed by strong aftershocks.

Canterbury and Wellington were the regions worst affected by the quakes, home to many All Blacks plying their trade for the Crusaders and Hurricanes.

"All we can say is that we're thinking of everyone back home and hopefully we'll get a bit more information as we go along," assistant coach Ian Foster said in Dublin.

"There's lots of stories, players with partners or part of our management who had to move out of their house, stuff like that, so there's obviously lots going on.

"The most important thing is that everyone is safe in New Zealand."

Veteran loosehead and Canterbury native Wyatt Crockett, 33, said he'd quickly called home to ensure his young family's safety.

He said he'd been shaken up by the news, particularly after the devastating Christchurch earthquakes of 2011.

"You just think about those loved ones and friends and family back home, making sure everyone's safe, that's where the boys' minds are at," Crockett said.

The news from home has obscured the world champions' arrival on the Emerald Isle as they look to secure revenge against an Irish team who shocked them 40-29 last week in Chicago.

The side, based in the outer Dublin suburb of Castleknock until Thursday, would have their video session on Monday morning, according to Crockett.

All players had pulled up well from their 68-10 thumping of Italy in Rome, including returning lock Brodie Retallick, who came off the bench.

Fellow lock Sam Whitelock was on track with his recovery and may appear against Ireland, but midfielder Ryan Crotty would definitely remain on the sidelines.

"I'm sure there'll be a bit of edge among the group right from now to tomorrow when we kick into it," Crockett said.

"After the game the boys' minds had started to shift towards the Irish pretty quickly."

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