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Five of the best: Responses to New Zealand’s Haka

| 30.10.2015

As the Rugby World Cup final between New Zealand Australia looms, we can only speculate as to what, if anything, the Wallabies will do when faced with the All Blacks’ latest Haka at a packed Twickenham stadium.

Should the Aussies provide their own mind-games, it wouldn’t be the first time a team has attempted to stand up to the intimidating pre-match Kiwi tradition.

So ahead of the big fight for the Webb Ellis Trophy this weekend, we’re taking a look back at five memorable responses to New Zealand’s Haka.

France 2011

Four years prior to the 2011 World Cup final, France had responded to New Zealand’s Haka in a 2007 quarter-final clash in Cardiff by displaying shirts representing the French tricolour of red, white and blue.

France then edged forwards during the Haka, and went on to edge the match too. Winning 20-18.

So four years later Les Blues sought to gain a mental edge once more. Lining up in a V formation they then advanced on the All Blacks mid-performance.

This time it didn’t work. The French were fined £2,500 for advancing over the half-way line and lost the final 8-7.

Wales 2008

Having claimed the Grand Slam in the Six Nations, Wales hosted New Zealand looking to beat the All Blacks for the first time in 55 years.

The Welsh resolutely watched the Haka, but remained motionless upon its completion.

What followed was a brilliantly tense two-minute eyeballing between the sides, with the poor referee desperately trying to get the game underway.

For all Wales’ bravado however, New Zealand prevailed 29-9.

Tonga 2003

Sometimes you can only fight fire with fire.

At the 2003 World Cup in Australia, Tonga decided to unleash their own Haka – the Sipi Tau – as New Zealand performed theirs.

It was a superb spectacle. Arguably a better one than the subsequent match where a fired-up All Blacks ran home 91-7 winners.

England 1997

In a clash with the All Blacks at Old Trafford, England advanced during the Haka.

Richard Cockerill however took it a step further by fronting up close and personal with Norm Hewitt.

Martin Johnson declared: “What the **** have you done?” as he dragged Cockerill away.

Johnson was right to be concerned. New Zealand won 25-8.

Ireland 1989

We end at the beginning with Ireland’s bold antics in 1989.

In front of a packed 50,000 crowd at Lansdowne Road, Ireland captain Willie Anderson lead his side in a slow and deliberate advancement during the Haka.

It certainly got the crowd whipped up into a frenzy, but it failed to have an impact on the result as New Zealand prevailed 23-6.

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Richard Marsh

Richard loves his sport, especially if it involves the sound of tyres screaming around a race track. He's not fussy though and his '90s Premier League nostalgia and knowledge of team nicknames is tough to match.