Prince William chats with members of the All Blacks New Zealand rugby team at Buckingham Palace. Left to right: Chris Masoe, Jason Eaton, John Afoa and Andrew Hore
Photo: AFP
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The Queen hosted the party, which was also attended by Lady Davina Lewis, her husband Gary Lewis (left) and players Jerry Collins (centre) and Rico Gear (right)
Photo: Empics

15 NOVEMBER 2005

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Ardent rugby fan Prince William met up with the old adversaries of his favourite team the British and Irish Lions - the New Zealand All Blacks. The young royal was attending a reception hosted by the Queen for the players, who are currently touring the British Isles and have already beaten Wales 41-3.

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On the Prince's official visit to New Zealand in July he was forced to endure a barrage of teasing after the team thrashed the Lions 48-18. "A few of us stuck into him about the score, but he's got a good sense of humour," said player Jono Gibbes.

Despite the memory of their joshing Wills looked more than happy to renew his acquaintance with the rugby aces. Lock forward Ali Williams even asked the Prince about his relationship with girlfriend Kate Middleton and was told it was "going well, going steady".

Introducing his 35-man squad to the Queen, captain Tana Umaga was clearly impressed with her rugby knowledge. "I was just in awe," he said. "She's an amazing lady and she's so sharp. She knew about the Wales game."

Also at the reception was Lady Davina Lewis, the daughter of the Queen's cousin, the Duke of Gloucester. She was accompanied by her husband of 13 months, Kiwi Gary Lewis.