RUGBY club leaders in Darlington have welcomed the announcement that the All Blacks will train in the town during next year's World Cup.
The defending champions will have a base at Darlington Mowden Park during the tournament, it was announced this week.
Bosses at neighbouring Darlington Rugby Club, which has its Blackwell Meadows ground less than a mile from Mowden Park's headquarters at The Northern Echo Arena, said they were thrilled at the news.
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Michael Stowe, commercial director for Darlington Rugby Club, said: "Everyone at the club is thoroughly delighted for Mowden.
"We were aware for quite a while that the bid had gone in and that it was very strong.
"A lot of the older members of the club and everyone involved is delighted – it's fantastic for the town and fantastic for rugby in Darlington, so it's positive news all round.
"Anything that highlights the benefits of rugby, or sport in general, has got to be a good thing and we would be all for it."
At a press conference to announce Mowden as a training base on Tuesday (August 26), the club's coach and arena manager Danny Brown said Darlington Rugby Club had been among the first to tweet their congratulations.
The All Blacks will spend six days in Darlington in October next year, as they attempt to defend the Webb Ellis trophy, which they won at the last World Cup in 2011.
They will play their final group stage game against Tonga at St James' Park, in Newcastle.
Mr Stowe said Darlington Rugby Club would be open to collaborating with Mowden during the All Blacks' stay.
Video: Dan Stephenson, 11, from Yarm Rugby Club, does the haka to mark news that the All Blacks will be based in Darlington for the Rugby World Cup. Can you beat Dan's ferocious performance? Email your videos to firstname.lastname@example.org
He added: "It is not something we have heard from our counterparts at Mowden about, but if anything was to come up, we would be more than delighted.
"Mowden have got great facilities, but if some of their teams needed to use any of our pitches for training while the All Blacks are in town, then it is something we would be open to if they need extra space, we would be delighted to help."
Tickets for the Rugby World Cup 2015 will be on sale from September 12 to 29 and applicants need to create an account at tickets.rugbyworldcup.com