All Blacks are accused of BULLYING their opponents during the haka – after England were fined for their World Cup response to the challenge
- England responded to New Zealand’s pre-game haka with a V-shaped formation
- The team fanned out from captain Owen Farrell and some stepped over halfway
- World Rugby have fined England for their actions ahead of the semi-final
- The All Blacks were accused of bullying by rugby writer Stephen Jones
The All Blacks have been accused of bullying their opponents by performing their pre-match haka.
England were fined after the team stood in a ‘V’ formation to accept the traditional Kiwi challenge with some players crossing the halfway line – despite protocols dictating the opposing team must remain in their own half.
The decision by England to breach the rule has seen them hit with a nominal four-figure fine.
Welsh rugby writer Stephen Jones has called for the All Blacks to stop the haka altogether, saying it is a ‘means of rank bullying on and off the field’.
‘The haka has long been partly bonkers,’ he wrote in a column for The Times.
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England players were defiant as New Zealand prepared to perform the haka (pictured) before their World Cup semi-final in Japan
The referee even had to warn England player Joe Marler and his team-mates to move back in order to allow the Kiwis to carry out their famous routine (pictured) before the crucial semi-final
‘It is now interminable; it takes up ages with the other team freezing.’
‘It is now a means of rank bullying on and off the field, and has become a posing strut rather than a tribute to the Māori heritage in New Zealand.’
Rugby writer Stephen Jones (pictured) is calling for the All Blacks to stop the haka
The controversy over the haka – and England’s response to it – has also led to others pushing for the pre-game tradition to be banned completely.
Some believe it has a ‘negative’ impact on the game.
New Zealand sports commentator Chris Rattue claims the haka has been taking away the players focus and concentration and sapping their energy at the start of each match.
‘It is time to consider letting the haka go or placing it somewhere else, in the name of winning,’ he wrote in the New Zealand Herald.
Irish rugby writer, Ewan MacKenna, sparked outrage earlier this month when he penned a piece calling for the pre-match ritual to be banned – but his reasons were quite different to Rattue’s.
He claimed the haka gave New Zealand an unfair advantage.
He also claimed the World Cup were ‘pandering to the dance’.
‘That’s unfortunate as New Zealand are justifiably big-headed enough without a massaging of their already massive egos.’
Former England hooker Brian Moore even said he was ‘bored’ with it.
Several England players spilled over into the New Zealand half and were told to step back
Sports columnist Kevin Kevin Norquay fired back, defending the haka as a ‘national treasure’.
‘When an Irish shock jock column writer wants the haka banned it’s blarney, akin to Kiwis telling the Irish there’s too much Guinness in the world,’ he wrote.
The haka has been a point of contention during the Rugby World Cup this year.
What is a haka?
A haka is a Maori war dance. It is typically performed during funerals, weddings and sports matches.
The All Blacks haka is arguably the most famous.
They perform two hakas- Ka Mate and Kapa o Pango.
Kapa o Pango was composed by Derek Lardelli for exclusive use of the All Blacks in 2005.
England players revealed afterwards that the V-shape was the idea of their coach Eddie Jones, with Mako Vunipola admitting afterwards that ‘we knew it would rile them up.’
Captain Farrell was pictured smirking while the dance was performed, with New Zealand scrum-half Aaron Smith saying afterwards that Farrell winked at him.
The amount of the fine was not revealed but in 2011, France were docked $3,200 after they formed an arrowhead shape and marched towards the haka before the World Cup final in Auckland.
Before England made waves with their V-formation Irish fans caused a stir during with their own pre-game shenanigans.
As the All Blacks began their ceremonial war cry, Irish fans were heard blaring the lyrics to folk ballad The Fields Of Athenry.
According to World Rugby rules, teams must stand at least 10 metres apart during the Haka performance. However, this was introduced as a safeguard after several attempts to unnerve the All Blacks in years gone by.
The France team linked arms and walked up to within metres of the New Zealand team in 2011