Read says Eng­land 'can do what they like' in re­sponse to Haka

The Borneo Post (Sabah) - - SPORT -

LON­DON: New Zealand cap­tain Kieran Read has in­sisted Eng­land "can do what they like" in re­sponse to the Haka at Twick­en­ham on Satur­day.

The Haka, a Maori chal­lenge, has long formed part of the pre kick-off rou­tine of New Zealand, the reign­ing world cham­pi­ons.

But how their op­po­nents should re­spond re­mains a thorny is­sue.

Back in 1989, Ire­land cap­tain Wil­lie An­der­son had his play­ers link arms and ad­vance to­wards the Haka -- a stir­ring sight but one that didn't stop New Zealand win­ning 23-6 in Dublin.

Two years later, in a World Cup semi-fi­nal, Aus­tralia great David Cam­pese ig­nored the Haka com­pletely, pre­fer­ring to kick a ball be­hind his own posts.

The Wal­la­bies won, be­fore beat­ing France in the fi­nal.

Bri­tish and Ir­ish Lions cap­tain Brian O'Driscoll tried throw­ing a blade of grass in the air, sym­bol­is­ing the pick­ing up of the tra­di­tional white feather, ahead of the first Test in 2005.

The All Blacks viewed that as a lack of re­spect and within a minute O'Driscoll's tour was over fol­low­ing a con­tro­ver­sial 'spear' tackle by New Zealand cap­tain Tana Umaga.

France were even fined for their re­sponse be­fore an ag­o­nis­ing 8-7 loss to New Zealand in the 2011 World Cup fi­nal in Auck­land.

Les Bleus were sup­posed to re­main be­hind the 10-me­tre line in their own half, but they ad­vanced to­wards the All Blacks in a 'vfor­ma­tion' led by cap­tain Thierry Dusautoir.

France were sub­se­quently fined £2,500 ($3,243) for a "breach of the tour­na­ment cul­tural rit­ual pro­to­col".

"At one stage we were so close to them that they wanted to kiss the New Zealan­ders, but I told them to take it easy," said Dusautoir af­ter­wards.

Satur­day's match will be the first time Eng­land have played New Zealand for four years.

Eng­land are un­likely to em­u­late Richard Cock­er­ill, who in 1997 con­fronted All Black for­ward Norm He­witt dur­ing a Haka at Old Traf­ford -- a match that Eng­land lost 25-8.

But a re­laxed Read, speak­ing at New Zealand's Lon­don ho­tel on Fri­day, said: "We do the Haka as a chal­lenge but it is more about us con­nect­ing as a team. The op­po­si­tion can do what they like.

"It's part of the his­tory of the game for us as New Zealan­ders.

"I cer­tainly get a kick out of it and I'm sure the crowd does as well. Whether they sing or what, it adds to the at­mos­phere.

"For me it's a great part of the game," the No 8 added.

Eng­land were far from con­vinc­ing in a 12-11 win over South Africa at Twick­en­ham last week­end.

But Read, who played in the All Blacks 24-21 vic­tory over Eng­land at 'head­quar­ters' in 2014, was braced for a tough en­counter in front of a ca­pac­ity crowd of more than 80,000.

"They (Eng­land) play a game, it can be fairly con­ser­va­tive, but it wins foot­ball (rugby) games and they've got some guys out there who are pretty dev­as­tat­ing with ball in hand."

He added: "It's a spe­cial day, play­ing Eng­land at Twick­en­ham. It's one of those oc­ca­sions you re­mem­ber across your ca­reer." - AFP

New Zealand Rugby team per­form­ing their Haka ahead of a match. - AFP photo

Owen Far­rell has in­sisted he al­ways tries to tackle fairly de­spite the row over his chal­lenge on An­dre Ester­huizen in the clos­ing mo­ments of Eng­land's 12-11 win against South Africa at Twick­en­ham last week­end. - AFP photo

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malaysia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.