New Zealand All Blacks Rugby News

Haka – New dressing room drama

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The All Blacks’ pre-match war dance, the Haka, was again at the centre of a storm before their test against Wales at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff on Saturday.


The All Blacks ended up performed their pre-match ritual, the Ka Mate version of the Haka, in the dressing rooms before the test in protest to Welsh Ruby Union (WRU) plans to change the tradition of the pre-match ritual.


The WRU wanted to change the long-standing custom whereby the Haka is performed just before kick-off. The All Blacks chose a private performance of Ka Mate instead.


“There’s a tradition that has built up over 100 years,” said All Blacks manager Darren Shand. “It is respected around the world and we asked the Welsh Rugby Union to do the same.”


The WRU, however, had insisted that the Haka be performed between the anthems. In 2005, the All Blacks agreed to the same request to mark the centenary of rugby between the two nations and received a promise from the WRU that the request was strictly a one-off.


“The Haka is a special part of world rugby,” noted Shand. “It’ll be a sad day for fans everywhere if we start to erode the tradition. We had concerns about last year’s change that, unfortunately, seem to be justified.”


All Blacks captain Richie McCaw said the team acted to protect the tradition of Haka that is integral to New Zealand culture and the All Blacks’ heritage.


“The tradition needs to be honoured properly if we’re going to do it,” said McCaw.


“If the other team wants to mess around, we’ll just do the Haka in the shed. At the end of the day, the Haka is about spiritual preparation and we do it for ourselves. Traditionally fans can share the experience too and it’s sad that they couldn’t see it today.”

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