Monday, November 27, 2006

Haka Redux

I've got one big finger pointed at the Brit press and the Welsh right now. Isn't it a bit rich for a Brit to call the All Blacks' haka performance "pompous"? Britain, the home of pasty-faced morris dancing hoity-toity slack-jawed stiff-lipped whinging twats. God Save the Queen is a terrible dirge which keeps me wondering what stops ERII from slashing her wrists every time she hears it.

Perhaps all this Brit vitriol is a bit over the top. It seems the Herald might have had to dig deep to such a negative vibe. The Telegraph's sports blogger, Mick Cleary, doesn't even mention the incident, although he does draw attention to Wales being dubbed the village idiots of world rugby. James Corrigan at the Independent:
Alas, this game will not be remembered so much for Sitiveni Sivivatu's hat-trick or Jerry Collins' campaign of terror, or simply as the 80 minutes in which the All Blacks delivered proof that they are, indeed, world champions in waiting. No, this will forever be the day New Zealand performed the haka in the dressing room.

Why? Because the Welsh Rugby Union insisted that their anthem came after the haka and not, as the norm, before, something that Graham Henry and his All Blacks found disrespectful. Cue a stalemate that took even the Welsh team by surprise. A petty irrelevance to the game some said, although not Collins. Not only did the brilliant blindside think that the Wales players had been distracted, but that the "private" haka the All Blacks enacted for their own benefit had the right effect. "Did it fire us up?" said Collins with a sinister grin. "Take a look at the scoreboard, mate."

The All Blacks did the right thing performing the haka in the dressing rooms. I'll do my best to explain why, in terms that even a Yank could understand.

The haka does not go in between national anthems. National anthems are not replies to a challenge, unless one counts the wave of phlegm thrown at the All Blacks by the Welsh anthem's guttural utterances. No, if the WRU wants to play silly buggers, and neither the Welsh team nor the stadium audience do a thing about it, the All Blacks had little choice but to perform on the closest thing to home territory; the changing rooms. The challenge was broadened in its intent by doing so. It was extended to everyone in the stadium, the WRU, the opposition.

Do not fuck with the haka.