The Prince of prop forwards?

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IOL Wills REUTERS Prince William and his future rugby star son

Britain's Prince William joked his son will be a future rugby player during a speech last night.

The prince - accompanied by his wife Duchess Catherine - also joked the eight-month-old tot had been doing to haka, a traditional Maori dance which welcomed the royal family to New Zealand earlier this week, during one of his frequent nocturnal wakings.

Speaking at a state reception in their honour at Government House in Wellington, William said: "He's a bonny lad and you'll be pleased to know that he's currently preparing for life as a prop forward!

"[George is] at his most vocal at 3am, as you may have noticed. I swear I heard him doing the haka this morning.

"I hope that George doesn't keep you up!"

The 31-year-old prince went on to thank the country and its representatives for being so welcoming, and shared his joy of making the trip with his family.

He said: "Thank you also for hosting Catherine, George and me during our time in New Zealand.

"I cannot tell you how happy I am to be back here in God's Own Country - as I have learned to call it - and this time with my wife and son.

"On this visit, I have no doubt that it will be Catherine - and not just me - who falls for New Zealand."

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