Dishing the dirt on the All Blacks

Beppu, Shimane (Japan) (AFP) –


The All Blacks have found an escape from the usual routine of ice baths for recovery, turning instead to a traditional Japanese technique of a hot dirt bath.

Captain Kieran Read led a group of players to Beppu beach where they were dressed in white robes and covered in hot volcanic sand.

After winning the opening round match against South Africa, the All Blacks have moved to Beppu on the southern island of Kyushu to prepare for their next match against Canada.

Coach Steve Hansen said that with a 10-day turnaround between matches, training this week would be tough and physical and the sand bath has proved ideal for recovery.

Beppu is one of Japan's most famous hot spring resorts with its unique sand baths listed as "relaxing and good for your health".

Bathers are buried in volcanic sand, naturally heated by steam from the hot springs.