In Brief

Rugby World Cup: England fined for their response to the New Zealand haka

The confrontation set the tone for a pulsating semi-final between England and the All Blacks

England have been fined by World Rugby for their bullish response to New Zealand’s haka in Saturday’s Rugby World Cup semi-final victory. 

Although the amount hasn’t been disclosed, Sky News claims it’s £2,500, a sum that will be donated to charity by the sport’s governing body.

England lined up in a V formation to face down the haka, and six players crossed the halfway line as the All Blacks performed their ritual. 

The confrontation set the tone for a pulsating encounter and World Rugby later uploaded an official video of the incident on YouTube, entitled “England’s incredible response to intense New Zealand haka”. 

More than four million people have viewed the clip and the response has, in the main, been positive.

England players lined up in a V formation for New Zealand’s haka before the Rugby World Cup semi-final

Dan Mullan/Getty Images

Taking control

Former All Blacks fly-half Andrew Mehrtens wrote in The Times that England “took control of the situation”. 

Mehrtens added: “They responded in a way that they knew they were going to but the All Blacks didn’t. Even the time it took to take off their tracksuits will have given them a feeling of control and initiative and that was borne out by the five furious minutes that followed.”

Another person who admired England’s initiative was South Africa coach Rassie Erasmus, who faced the haka several times during his own playing career. 

“I don’t think it was disrespectful,” said Springboks chief Erasmus, whose side face England in this Saturday’s World Cup final.

“It was certainly interesting, it was certainly exciting and it was certainly something new and it brought some spice to the Test match.”

Cultural clash

Nonetheless England have been fined for breaching World Rugby’s “cultural ritual protocol”, introduced after France went nose to nose with the haka in the 2011 Rugby World Cup final.

The fine will lead to more calls among critics of the haka for it to be banned. Last month Irish sports writer Ewan MacKenna made headlines when he wrote an article for Pundit Arena in which he urged World Rugby to stop “pandering to the dance”, which he said had been “completely overdone” for commercial reasons. 

There followed the inevitable social media storm, but Mackenna refused to retract the statement, posting a video on Twitter of how the All Blacks used to approach the haka, along with the message: “I’ve enraged the idiocy of New Zealand. ‘Heritage’. ‘Pride’. ‘Warriors’. ‘History’. ‘Culture’. Eh no, it’s marketing and exploitation.”

Rugby World Cup further reading

Recommended

F1 ‘silly season’ hits top speed as 2023 grid takes shape
Oscar Piastri denied he would be driving for Alpine in 2023
Behind the scenes

F1 ‘silly season’ hits top speed as 2023 grid takes shape

Online abuse in football: ‘the dark side to the beautiful game’
Man Utd’s Harry Maguire and Cristiano Ronaldo are two players regularly targeted
Talking point

Online abuse in football: ‘the dark side to the beautiful game’

Premier League predictions: title winners and relegation
The Premier League trophy
View from the terraces

Premier League predictions: title winners and relegation

Sarina Wiegman: England’s ‘one of a kind’ supercoach
Keeper Mary Earps and the England players gatecrashed Sarina Wiegman’s press conference
Profile

Sarina Wiegman: England’s ‘one of a kind’ supercoach

Popular articles

Will China invade Taiwan?
Chinese troops on mobile rocket launchers during a parade in Beijing
Fact file

Will China invade Taiwan?

Is World War Three on the cards?
Ukrainian soldiers patrol on the frontline in Zolote, Ukraine
In Depth

Is World War Three on the cards?

Best new TV crime dramas of 2022
Roger Allam and Nancy Carroll in Murder in Provence
In Depth

Best new TV crime dramas of 2022

The Week Footer Banner