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British rugby fan crashes on New Zealand All Blacks' couch

Akira and Rieko Ioane Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Ioane brothers: national stars and surprise hosts to one British rugby fan

When a British rugby fan supporting his side in New Zealand was offered a place to stay over with some friendly locals, he had no clue he would end up in the home of two All Blacks stars.

Alex Edwards is following the British and Irish Lions team's tour of New Zealand in a camper van.

One night, a woman at a local Auckland rugby club suggested he stay with them instead of camping in the car park.

Later the woman's two sons walked in - rugby icons Rieko and Akira Ioane.

"I didn't actually recognize them at first - I was sitting with a cup of tea with the dad when the lads came in and their mum introduced the boys," Mr Edwards told the BBC.

Sipping on his tea, he joked that they looked like they would make decent rugby players, to which the father replied that he would see them "run out the next night".

Mr Edwards assumed they would be playing for a local club, but was quickly corrected.

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Media captionMeet the Lions fan who had a chance meeting with two All Blacks stars

"They're playing for the Blues, mate," he was told - the Auckland team the British-Irish team was to face the next day.

The Ioane brothers also star for the New Zealand national team.

"I thought they'd looked familiar, but it didn't click until the dad told me," Mr Edwards said.

"People here worship the ground these guys walk on - and I didn't have a clue.

"They were great, really great. Everyone talks about Kiwi hospitality and that's really true in this case."

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Rieko Ioane scores a try against the British Lions

Despite their stardom, the brothers, who are in their early 20s, still share a room at their parents' place.

Their hospitality did not, however, extend to the visiting Lions team, who were beaten 22-16 the following day.

The Lions' misery has continued with a 30-15 defeat against the All Blacks last Saturday - with Rieko Ioane scoring two tries.

Mr Edwards - who is taking a year off after working in IT in London for the past decade - and his camper van are currently at Lake Taupo between Auckland and Wellington, where a crowd of fellow Lions fans are also staying.

There are two more Test matches to come.

"Of course, I want the Lions to win both games. But after last Saturday, we have to be a bit careful with our expectations," he added.

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Media captionMeet the Lions fan who crashed on New Zealand All Blacks' couch
Image copyright Alex Edwards
Image caption Mr Edwards and other Lions fans at Lake Taupo
Image copyright Facebook
Image caption Mr Edwards has also been doing some fishing

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