A restaurateur in Lyon was left delighted after three members of the New Zealand rugby team visited his restaurant during their training camp ahead of the World Cup.
France’s hosting duties for the 2023 Rugby World Cup are set to get underway this weekend as play kicks off between the All Blacks and France.
In preparation for their run of matches, the New Zealand side have settled into their base camp in Lyon, making sure to get to know the local area in their free time.
This included three players visiting Hugo Boissin’s Mexican restaurant Piquin last Friday evening.
Mr Boissin told of how players Dalton Papali'i, Luke Jacobson and Ethan de Groot ate enough food for 12 to fuel their intense training programme.
“They ordered tacos and lots of quesadillas, guacamole and nachos. When you have more than 100kg of muscles, it makes sense,” the restaurant owner told French media Actu Lyon.
“I think it was their last outing before concentrating completely on the World Cup. We are used to having rugby players with those from the Lou who are often here, but these guys came unexpectedly. Their hotel or their security guards must have told them about it.”
A huge rugby fan himself, Mr Boissin said he was starstruck meeting the three players.
“It was great, I was like a boy. I had to go back to service after because it was Friday evening…
“When you are a fan, that is how you act. I am wider than I am tall, but next to them… their arm is my leg.”
The disparity in size between the owner and the players can be seen in a picture posted on the restaurant’s Instagram page, accompanied by the caption, “New Zélande in da house ! Very proud to have welcomed @daltonrpapalii @lukejacobson_ @its_degroot from the team @allblacks
“Good luck for Friday (but not too much) @rugbyworldcup”
Poking fun at how big all the players were, the post added: “Ps. And us who thought our boss was burly…”
See all the key dates for the Rugby World Cup here:
To see the picture in high resolution, follow this link.
The All Blacks start their campaign on Friday when they take on the host team, France, at the Stade de France in Paris.