Why exactly does every other team in the world have to stand and face the New Zealand players doing the Haka in front of them? This is something I’ve never been able to fathom. It has never been obvious to me, and I know you’ll probably call me a fool for it, but I have never been able to grasp why one particular rugby team should be afforded the special privilege of cavorting in front of all the others before a match. And yes, before you say it, I know that the Islanders do it too, but we’re talking here about serious contenders for the Cup.
Would world rugby be happy with Ireland performing a Riverdance in front of all their opponents?
Would it be all right if Argentina played keepy-uppy while the All Blacks were sticking their tongues out?
Would it be acceptable if the Scots played bagpipes at everyone, on the basis that this is their culture?
Of course it wouldn’t, and yet we seem happy to accept the Haka, a relatively recent phenomenon compared to New Zealand teams of former years who engaged in a half-hearted hand-waving slightly embarrassed demi-dance.
Why should anyone have to stand in front of a pumped-up display of aggression with no right of reply? When exactly did New Zealand become the owners of world rugby? Who do they think they are?
Forget this nonsense. No team is more important than any other and no team is entitled to a psychological advantage, so why precisely is New Zealand afforded such an advantage?
There’s no logic to it, unless everyone is afforded the same opportunity.
So let me repeat the question. What would be wrong with ignoring the Haka? What would be wrong with our players continuing to warm up while the New Zealand players make fools of themselves?