The 2011 Rugby World Cup is a mere 27 days away (at the time of writing) and excitement levels are building. People in the North might like you to believe that teams like England and France have a chance of actually winning it this time around but let’s be honest: there are only three teams capable of lifting the William Web Ellis trophy on 22 October 2011 in Auckland, New Zealand and that’s the Tri-Nations countries of New Zealand, Australia and South Africa.
The SANZAR deal has provided South Africa and Australia the opportunity of regularly playing in New Zealand for the last 15 years. Both teams know how to play in the Land of the Long White Cloud and win there. Northern Hemisphere teams have a torrid time of it down in the Antipodes. South Africa has beaten New Zealand (the All Blacks) in New Zealand in 2008 and 2009. What are the chances of the Boks pulling off another infamous victory?
But this isn’t about the World Cup (yet), this is about the suggestion of ex-Wallaby Greg Martin to ban the All Blacks haka (pictured right). His reasoning is that it provides the All Blacks with physical superiority because of the war dance. I don’t believe for one instant it provides them with a physical advantage. My belief is that it provides the ABs with a psychological advantage over their opponents. Especially since rulings which started last year that teams are not allowed to do anything else other than simply stand and watch the haka. Opposition teams who have turned their backs on the haka have been fined for their disrespect.
This smacks of favouritism in my eyes. Altering rule books to allow one team to have to face a challenge in a certain way is an abuse of power [Psst, the person who passed such judgement is the head of referees, one New Zealander named Paddy O’Brien]. Conspiracy theory? Maybe.
Under the current “legislation”, the Springboks facing down of the Haka at the 1995 World Cup Final as a team while the ABs performed the war dance would have been fined.
Do I agree with Mr Martin?
BUT, I believe that if the haka is allowed then every team facing it should be allowed to face it as they wish, even if it means the Scots wearing kilts and mooning the ABs at the end.
The ruling to allow the haka and favour one team over all others is pure discrimination.