A long, leg-cramping flight from Austria to South Africa had the New Zealand team looking to get a bit of exercise once it landed, so it headed for its training ground where it was met by a stinky, lung-smothering surprise guest.
The All Whites' campaign in South Africa started in a bizarre fashion this morning when the first training was cut short because of the thick wood and coal fire smog from the surrounding Daveyton township.
Just before the team arrived a solid, smelly fog descended on the pitch of Sinaba Stadium and made it difficult to breath or even see the corner flags.
As the players waited in the bus outside the stadium, the All Whites management team spent nearly half an hour debating whether they would call off the training.
Only after doctor Celeste Geertsema and captain Ryan Nelsen joined the mid-pitch pow-wow, it was decided to give the team a chance to stretch their legs.
And so the team breathed in that lung-ravaging stench during a light kick-around, which caused asthma sufferers Simon Elliot and Andy Boyens to hit their inhalers after just a few minutes.
The locals, meanwhile, didn't get what all the nose pinching and coughing was about.
Interestingly, the local South African staff on the sidelines were bemused by all the fuss and could not see why a bit of smog could stop a training session of a national team.
I would make a joke here, but the fact that they're so used to smog like that is pretty awful. I am surprised that Ryan Nelsen couldn't scare that smog off with a single hateful stare, though. Maybe he was still groggy from the flight or something.
Photo: Iain McGregor/Stuff.co.nz
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