Before New Zealand fought back from a half-time deficit to beat the Barbarians this weekend, they were getting inspired by a group of veterans.

The world champions were invited to try the Paralympic sport of 'goalball' ahead of their 31-22 victory at Twickenham.

Five players joined a group of wounded, injured and sick veterans from the Royal National Institute of Blind People and the Endeavour Fund, to experience a sport designed for the visually impaired. 

And getting the ball past an All Black proved just as hard in goalball as it is on a rugby pitch.

New Zealand rugby players try 'goalball'

But they weren't completely impenetrable. New Zealand's not-so-secret weapon Ardie Savea was gutted to let one through - before being saved by his team-mate on the next ball.

Goalball is a team sport, devised in 1946 as a means of assisting the rehabilitation of visually impaired World War II veterans.

Two teams of three use a ball with bells inside, with the aim of throwing it into the opposing team's net, while defenders attempt to block it with their bodies.

New Zealand rugby players try 'goalball'

All the players wore eyeshades to compete on an equal footing, with the All Blacks raising awareness of the power of sport as a tool for recovery and rehabilitation.

Jon Giemza-Pipe, who served 22 years in the Royal Artillery, is one person to be helped in this way.

New Zealand rugby players try 'goalball'

He got involved with the Endeavour Fund, which supports the recovery of wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women, through the Invictus Games.

Jon Beever, meanwhile, served with 33 Engineer Regiment (EOD) and was injured playing rugby.

New Zealand rugby players try 'goalball'

He was medically discharged from the Army but suffered further trauma in a motorbike accident.

Both veterans are huge rugby fans and so were delighted to be in the company of some of the best players in the world - but might see it as a blessing that England won't be facing their new friends from New Zealand in the Autumn Internationals...

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