Prince William got more than he bargained for when he threw a rugby ball around with some 10-year-olds on the first day of his visit to New Zealand.
One of the youngsters from the local Pakuranga team, Sebastian Diedricks, spun a ball towards the prince’s groin and scored a direct hit, making His Royal Highness wince with pain. An audible “ow” was heard around the ground.
What did the boys think? “He is the king of England,” one said. Another pronounced him “cool” and “pretty chilled”. A couple kicked some balls towards the goal – and the watching media. “He told us it didn’t matter if we hit the cameras,” Ryan Wallace, 10, said of the joking Prince, 27.
William toured Eden Park rugby stadium, which is being redeveloped to be a centerpiece of next year’s World Cup. And he also had the chance to catch up some old friends: All Black rugby stars. One, Ali Williams, said that the Prince is a “relaxed, nice bloke” and they don’t talk shop. “To be honest he doesn’t want to talk about the royals to me and I don’t want to talk about rugby to him. So we find something else.”
William was in the mood to talk to reporters about carrying out some work for the Queen. “She is very busy and I want to do something good that she has led the way with,” he said of opening the new Supreme Court building Monday. He took the opportunity express his sorrow at the disaster in Haiti.
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“But before reflecting on my last visit, and the pleasure I feel on my return, I should just like to say how much the people of Haiti are in all our thoughts and prayers at this terrible time,” he said in his speech.
In light 15 knot winds, Prince William also spent part of his visit at sea – setting sail out of Waitemata harbor, Auckland, on a 79-foot yacht.
After graduating Friday, the prince arrived in New Zealand Sunday morning. After three days there, he heads to Australia.