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The Wallabies have been warned that disrespecting the All Blacks’ haka could result in a fine from the International Rugby Board.

The ARU was recently forced to pay a £1000 ($1677) fine to Rugby World Cup Limited after the Wallaroos, Australia’s women’s rugby team, advanced on the Black Ferns mid-haka before their World Cup pool match in England last month.

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Shortly after the match, won by New Zealand 32-5, the ARU received a letter from the Women’s World Cup tournament director, based at the IRB headquarters in Dublin, explaining that the conduct of the Wallaroos was in breach of tournament rules.

The Australian women were found guilty of moving several metres towards the haka. IRB tournament rules dictated that the team facing the haka must stay at least 10 metres on its own side of the halfway line, but the Wallaroos made the mistake of walking beyond that line.

There was also a warning that if the fine wasn’t paid, or if there were any repetition of such behaviour while the haka was being conducted, the ARU was liable to find itself at the centre of a misconduct case.

The Herald understands that there is no reference in the SANZAR tournament laws to player behaviour during the haka, but the warning is clear that in future IRB tournaments, such as next year’s World Cup in New Zealand, the haka must be treated with respect.

It has been made clear by international rugby’s ruling body that while New Zealand rugby teams lay down the challenge, opposition teams are expected to stand motionless and make no reaction.

This is far from the first time the haka has caused problems between the two teams.

The 1996 Wallabies upset many New Zealanders when before the Wellington Test they decided to turn their backs on the haka and instead warmed up at the other end of Athletic Park. The tactic, which did not have the full support of the Australian players that day but was driven by team management, didn’t work as the Wallabies suffered their biggest loss to the All Blacks – a 43-6 thrashing.

In 2006, the then Wallabies coach John Connolly led a call for a ban on one version of the haka, which involved the New Zealand players making a gesture of throat-slitting. Connolly described the throat-slitting motion as irresponsible, with its ”murderous” connotations sending the wrong message to society. All Blacks coach Graham Henry reacted by calling the Australian stance ”arrogant” and ”pathetic”.

At least former Wallabies back-rower, Sam Scott-Young, took a more humorous approach in 1992 when he kissed and winked at his New Zealand opponents during the haka.”

To me, personally, this is the biggest load of

I have ever seen!

I vividly remember how Kobus Wiese took up the challange on Jonah in the 1995 World Cup. So, with today’s IRB rulings, we would have received a stiff fine!

So, besides the obvious law changes that are favoring the All Blacks, we now also have regulations demanding how team should behave while the All Blacks can do whatever they want.  I wonder if there are similar clauses for Tonga, Fiji and Samoa, who have their own war dances before the match…and will they be disrespectful if they perform their war dances while the All Blacks do theirs? Or will they have to wait respectfully for the All Blacks to finish before they start? Is there any clauses ruling that the All Blacks must first do their Haka?

The game is in disrepute. And the IRB is the cause.

31 Responses to Haka GK!!

  • 1

    The principle sucks and is unfair in my view.

    The team should at least be allowed to walk up to the halfway line.

    Even before starting, they are held back in their own 10. This already gives the All Blacks an unfair advantage on a psychological level.

  • 2

    I dont recall any particular laws governing the Haka. As far as I am aware it has been performed as part of a mutually agreed match program.

    Disrespect it at your peril as John Ele’s Walalbies discovered by being thrashed, or dishonour it by not keeping your word as the Welsh found out by not seeing it at all & being thrashed.

    The Haka is mark of respect to the opposition & Boks have always proved themselves worthy opponents by stepping up with their 1’000 yard stares :-D

  • 3

    The first and only time the AB’s were intimidated while they were doing the Haka. Part of the mystique of playing the AB’s is how teams respond to the Haka. A good response generally results in a great match.

  • 4

    @ Met Uysh:

    The article makes it sound like NZ is complaining about something – they had nothing to do with it.

    It only gives the ABs an advantage if you dont take the challenge.

  • 5

    @ Rugby_Princess:

    I think oppositions teams should be allowed to behave in any manner they deem fit during the Haka. And making laws about how opposition should behave during the Haka is going beyond enforcing respectful behaviour.

    I like the way the Boks man up to the Haka, especially like they did in 1995. But no one should be stopped from behaving like a bunch of sissies by turning their backs, or doing their warmups, or staring at them for a ponder afterwards, of scracting their balls for that matter.

    If the All Blacks are allowed the freedom to honour their unique tradition, other teams should be free to observe it in their own manners.

  • 6

    @ Rugby_Princess:

    Perhaps so, but this is fact “Blacks coach Graham Henry reacted by calling the Australian stance ”arrogant” and ”pathetic”.”

    Maybe the IRB did react on the feeling from the AB’s camp, maybe not.

  • 7

    Well, I love the Haka, but if there are stipulations to how you may respond, then the boks must in future go play with a ball behind the posts.

  • 8

    @ Met Uysh:

    You missed my point (clearly I am too subtle) I am not telling any opposition what they should or should not do, I am saying (statistically speaking) that the opposition teams that do “man up” gnerally perform better.

    Welsh RFU told the ABs that they “didn’t need to see the dance” & so the ABs did it for themselves in the change room before the match – WITHOUT COMPLAINT – then slew the Boyos on the field. The only folk who seemed to truly miss it were the fans & the Ref who as I recall said “what ? No Haka ?” to which the reply was “that’s right – straight to kick off thanks ref”.

    Neither the ABs no the NZRU complained – just got on with playign rugby :-D

  • 9

    On the other hand if they allow us to deal with it in the way we have been, by slowly stepping up as a collective unit and staring right through their skulls, then great stuff.

  • 10

    Wish the IRB and National Administrators would forget about these side-issues and rather concentrate on the ball….

    They Act like polititions… they favour their pets….

    They make decisions when quiet diplomacy is required and fail to make decisions when the need to make decisions is imperative….

  • 11

    @ Rugby_Princess:

    So, would you agree then that enforcing such a regulation is a big load of BS?

    I am not suggesting the AB’s complain, that’s why I point the finger at the IRB.

    But naturally, I do feel a bit resentful towards the AB’s for being the perceived blue eyed boys in world rugby…:)

  • 12

    @ Met Uysh:

    Absolutely I agree – within the boundaries of good taste. For example if they walk over & spit on an AB during the Haka they should expect to be beaten withith an inch of their life with the ref looks the other way. :-D

    It is the ABs fault that they are #1, play entertaining & exciting rugby & start with a jolly good “throw down” to get the blood lust flowing ?

    Bok v AB has always been the preeminent match because they each consider the other the ultimate competitor, the only other country that rates their rugby alongside Catholicism v Protestant :-D

  • 13

    Uys, was dit nou nodig om ‘n foto by te sit van Naka se sitplek toe hy gehoor het Bakkies gaan moontlik teen sy span speel ? Sies man !

  • 14

    Rugby_Princess wrote:

    @ Met Uysh:
    It is the ABs fault that they are #1, play entertaining & exciting rugby & start with a jolly good “throw down” to get the blood lust flowing ?

    It’s not about that. The Boks can play equally entertaining rugby. My gripe is that the IRB seems to bend over backwards for them, changing laws so it should suit the AB’s style of playing, referee boss personally apologising to them for apparant refereeing blunders, and now this.

    I love the All Blacks, don’t get me wrong. I love the Haka as well. But the IRB is turning things a bit sour. They do not have to bend over backwards for the All Blacks, they are an awesome side without getting any favoritism, and I guess, these sort of things take away some of the shine for me.

  • 15

    @ Met Uysh:

    Ted’s issue was with Connelly’s gross over reaction in asserting that the Kapa O Pango would drive small children to grab kitchen knives & slit each others throats.

    He should have called him a lilly livered overwrought & too tightly laced ninny & left it at that :-D

  • 16

    @ Rugby_Princess:

    Personally I also find the throat slitting action a bit insensitive and distasteful. We live in a violent society and watching a rugby match I do not want to be reminded of throats being slit.

  • 17

    @ Met Uysh:

    I guess it depends where you stand … If Richie McCaw is truly our greatest asset & IRB were bending over the boardroom table for the ABs surely they would have left the Flankers work are alone ? Instead they pretty much outlawed much of what he did & poor old Richie had to go back to the drawing board.

    Last week when trying to work out my SuperBru Forecast I estimated that the Wobblies would lead at half time & score the most tries but the Boks would win – because of your propensity for Drop Goals.

    If IRB were truly sucking up to the ABs Drop Goals would be worth 0.025 of a point & tries woudl be worth 17 points – but they are not are they ? :-D

    As I said – it depends where you are standing as to why the IRB does what it does.

  • 18

    @ Rugby_Princess:

    They might actually not be far off from that ;)

  • 19

    17@ Rugby_Princess:
    Hey, don’t give the IRB food for thought…. hahaha

    The Haka as well as the other Pacific Island challanges is a welcome tradition as far as I’m concerned… much like anyone’s National Anthem…. respect it, then move on and play RUGBYYYYYYYYYYY!!

    But to actually regulate how it is respected, takes the issue a bit far.

  • 20

    @ Met Uysh:

    I guess what you see is coloured by your life experiences & this goes for everyone.

    From the first time I saw the thumb drag across the schoulders it never occured to me that it was a throat slitting gesture – but then I grew up in NZ where I witnessed Maori Culture first hand.

    The man who designed /wrote the Kapa O Pango explained that this gesture indicates the drawing of “hauora”, the breath of life into the heart and lungs. Hence a positive action not a negative or violent one.

    Let me tell I see stuff often in Asia that would turn most Westerner’s stomachs & I am just talking about what goes on in restaruants – but I am also aware that this is a cultural difference :-D

  • 21

    @ Met Uysh:

    Well I have been submitting LOTS of petitions … :lol:

  • 22

    @ grootblousmile:

    I loathe over-legislation, as far as I am concerned it encourages people to abdicate any sense of personal responsibility & enough of that goes on already :x

  • 23

    Let’s face facts, the IRB are a collective bunch of nincompoops.

    They should stop worrying about kuk like this and get on with sorting out real issues pertaining to the game world wide.

  • 24

    Well I do enjoy the Haka, always have, except when they do the one when they slit the throats. Don’t think that is what I want to be looking at ever really. Anyhow why would teams get a fine if they never showed respect to it? Mystery to me really. I would have thought teams not showing respect to either teams National Anthems should get a fine, but the Haka!!! Think it is a war dance, not very sure but it is like us wanting to do the Zulu Dance and the other team just not taking too much notice. Don’t think any team should get a fine if they wonder off and do their own thing under the posts while the Haka is on, or walking over and come close to the ABs doing the Haka. Why on earth should any team in the world have to get a fine if they not too bothered with it or actually go up and face the Haka close up.

    It is the Anthems that should be respected 100%. As much as I enjoy the Haka really don’t think it is fair if other teams are now getting fined for not having to show complete repect for it. NO other team does this sort of thing before. I myself do enjoy the Haka and watching a AB game would not be the same without it. But really!!!!! teams getting fined for not respecting it, is a bit much.

    Bring back the IMPI….hehehe. Remember when we had the Zulu warrior coming on just before our games here in SA. It was awesome.

  • 25

    @ Scrumdown:23 – Agree 100%

  • 26

    I love watching the Haka, but to tell people how they can and cannot respond to it is pathetic, if you put yourself out there and issue a challenge even if it is a traditional one you should accept what comes your way.

    When someone tells someone what they can or cannot do, thats when unreasonable behavior normally starts, when it was not even considered before.

  • 27

    @ Puma:
    Hiho Puma ::-):

  • 28

    I read, i think yesterday on the tv’s news24 that capetown has the fattest people and DURBAN the slimmest, Hello all you wp fatties :lol: :lol: :lol:

  • 29

    @ Treehugger: 27 – Hello Treehugs.

    @ Treehugger:28 – :lol:

  • 30

    The point is that there should be no need to regulate how people behave towards the Haka.
    All rugby nations should accept the Haka as a great part of the culture of rugby and as such it should be respected.
    The 95 Boks reaction was brilliant and set the tone for what was rightfully a great final.
    The Kiwis respect the fact that we take up the challenge.
    This is what the spirit of this great game is all about.
    Unfortunately some of the great tradition is watered down when our coach sees fit to get the wrong people to hand out the Bok jerseys like Kurt Darren and that woman who went to NZ to play netball and admitted at the jersey ceremony that she supported NZ!!

  • 31

    What a load of ####.


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