Monday, 28 October 2019

Should the Haka be part of the Rugby World Cup/

We may be out of the Rugby World Cup . but the tournament is not over for Cymru as we will now play New Zealand, for the 3rd and 4th placing.

Normally this is a damp squib of a match as it is difficult to motivate both fans and players but for Cymru the chance to break the long list of 60 years of defeat by the All Blacks.

Indeed it could break the mindset that is a barrier to finally creating a belief that we can beat anybody.

Which brings me to the Haka and whether it should be allowed in World Cup matches.

It may be open to debate whether r the Haka creates a psychological advantage for the All Blacks . but i think that it does so i the first often vital minutes of the match

England are set to discover on Monday whether they will be fined for their V-shaped response to New Zealand’s haka in their World Cup semi-final victory against the All Blacks on Saturday.

England’s players revealed that Eddie Jones was behind the plan to counter New Zealand’s traditional Maori challenge in order to show they were “ready for anything”.

Mako Vunipola admitted that “we knew it would rile them up” while the captain, Owen Farrell, who could be seen smirking during the dance, said: “We wanted not to just stand there and let them come at us.”

Aaron Smith, the New Zealand scrum-half, said afterwards that Farrell was winking at him while the haka was being performed.

In 2011 France formed an arrow shape and advanced on New Zealand while they performed the haka before the World Cup final and were subsequently fined £2,500 for breaching a “cultural ritual protocol”.

It is understood that the protocol states that opponents must not cross the halfway line but at the two tips of England’s V formation, six players – Joe Marler, Billy Vunipola, Mark Wilson, Elliot Daly, Luke Cowan‑Dickie and Ben Youngs – appeared to be standing in the All Blacks’ half.

Match officials could be seen trying to encourage the players to return to their own half, but to no avail. It is believed World Rugby will consider on Monday whether any punishment is warranted but, given the precedent set with France eight years ago, it would be a surprise if England were not sanctioned in a similar manner.

“[Joe Marler] said he got confused,” Mako Vunipola said. “He thought he was supposed to go all the way around it and go to their 10. But because of that, he’s the one who has to pay the fine. He dishes it out a lot so the boys would be more than happy if he has to pay it.”

In 2008 Wales responded to the Haka Wales played the All Blacks at Millennium Stadium in 2008, having not defeated the Kiwis in a Test since 1953. New Zealander Warren Gatland had been installed as Wales coach one year earlier. In a team meeting three days before the match, Gatland asked the Welsh players if they understood the significance of the haka. In particular, did they know that the haka was only finished when the opposition walked away? Flanker Martyn Williams had the obvious follow-up: what would happen if the opposition didn’t walk away?

South African referee Jonathan Kaplan gave a hilarious account of the incident:
“When the haka finished I thought we were ready for the start of the game. But how wrong I was,” he recalls. “I sensed something was different though when the crowd got into it. I noticed some of the All Blacks not moving. I asked them to please go to their stations so we could start the game. They told me to tell the opponents to go. I said I would, so I went over to [Wales captain] Ryan [Jones] and asked him if he wouldn’t mind moving on. He told me that they wouldn’t move until the All Blacks moved first. I did feel a bit weird asking Ryan to move and I was also out of my comfort zone. But I was aware the crowd were enjoying it, So I just let it roll a little longer because it added to the theatre of the occasion. The stand-off was a couple of minutes long. Given that neither team was willing to move I decided it wasn’t my responsibility. Before the match there is a steward to make sure things run smoothly prior to ki
ck-off. So I went back to the halfway line and started kicking the ball around.”

The Welsh national anthem is now synonymous with Welsh sporting events, particularly rugby and football internationals. It’s a tradition that dates back to 1905, when the rugby union teams of Wales and New Zealand were about to clash for the first time at Cardiff Arms Park.

After the All Blacks finished their fearsome war dance, the haka, the Welsh crowd struck back with "Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau". It’s the first recorded instance of a national anthem being sung before an international sporting fixture. And that time, it worked: Wales won 3-0.

So we in Cymru owe the Haka a debt and of course the best National Anthem in the World sang by thousands of Welsh Men and Women perhaps gives us a psychological advantage.

However I think England were right to confront the Haka indeed I think the Haka should not be allowed in World Cup competitions.

This after all is World Cup and no side should establish any Psychological advanage minutes before kick off apart from the anthem of course.

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