Monday, November 24, 2008

SPORTSHYPE: The Welsh Haka Standoff

As is normal, the All Blacks performed the haka before their match against Wales at the Millenium Stadium in Cardiff on November 22, 2008. This is always an occasion, and on this day, even more so, because it's been said that Wales and New Zealand are "the two most rugby religious countries in the world" - something I certainly believe to be true.

The reaction of the team facing the haka is always interesting to watch. In the past, opponents have gone eye-to-eye (Richard Cockerill), ignored it entirely (David Campese), put on t-shirts with the colors of the national flag (France in 2007), and of course responded with their own challenge (Samoa, Tonga, and Fiji).

What Wales did was something new: they remained standing where they were, not retreating an inch after the All Blacks finished the haka. A staring contest ensued, and the game only got started after referee Jonathan Kaplan interceded. It would appear that Wales won this particular contest, but the game... well, you'll have to watch the game for yourself. I won't ruin it for you.

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