'Not fair': England facing 'farcical' punishment in World Cup haka drama
England are facing a fine from World Rugby over their stunning response to the haka before their win over New Zealand in the Rugby World Cup semi-finals.
England answered the challenge of New Zealand's Haka head-on on Saturday night, with a curious new tactic in their in Yokohama.
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It's common practice for the opposition team to station themselves on one side of the halfway line while the All Blacks go about their business in the other half.
However England took an unorthodox approach and formed a V shape, effectively surrounding the All Blacks on one side.
However some of the English players crept over halfway - a big no-no during the haka - which prompted referees to ask them to move back.
But it appears as though that's not the only fallout.
According to the Guardian, England are also facing a monetary fine.
"In 2011 France formed an arrow shape and advanced on New Zealand while they performed the haka before the World Cup final and were subsequently fined £2,500 for breaching a "cultural ritual protocol"," a report in the Guardian said on Monday.
"It is understood that the protocol states that opponents must not cross the halfway line but at the two tips of England's V formation, six players – Joe Marler, Billy Vunipola, Mark Wilson, Elliot Daly, Luke Cowan‑Dickie and Ben Youngs – appeared to be standing in the All Blacks' half."
However the news of an impending fine has been widely panned.
While the Haka is culturally important & should be respected It's also a feature of #AllBlacks rugby that gives them a huge advantage. #England's challenging response was novel but not disrespectful. To issue a fine might seem a touch disproportionate. https://t.co/hUyxjWYapS— Wyre Davies (@WyreDavies) October 28, 2019
Absolutely no fine! This was the best part of the game (and it was a great game too). When we look back on this RWC, this will be seen as one its iconic moments. The Haka is a challenge. England accepted and it really set the tone for the match. More teams should be doing this.— Derek Bressette (@Bressette4) October 28, 2019
— John Ford (@JuanDiablo4d) October 28, 2019
As an ABs supporter I think a fine is ridiculous. The question is why England have such a problem with the haka. I think England was disrespectful but it's their decision to respond as they do. And the smirk on the captains face, well what do you say to that? Good luck Boks— Annette (@parkin_annette) October 28, 2019
This is not fair.. but hey they won so there is that ultimate satisfaction #RugbyWorldCup2019#rugby#HakaNo— Madhusudan (@thesilentmonk) October 28, 2019
England could face fine following their response to New Zealand's haka https://t.co/HWf6uc4YKR
England should shove any fine up the appropriate bottoms. If NZ has the right to the Haka, opposing teams have a right to counter it as they wish (within reason). England were within reason. Let every team have their own dance pre game, Michael Jackson, or a bob shuffle. Farcical https://t.co/MHgVUKPI8d— Stuart Barnes (@SBarnesRugby) October 27, 2019
Eddie Jones the mastermind
The players have since revealed it was coach Eddie Jones who masterminded the ploy in order to show the Kiwis they meant business.
After the game Mako Vunipola said "we knew it would rile them up", while captain Owen Farrell said "We wanted not to just stand there and let them come at us."
Farrell was also spotted on TV cameras winking at the All Blacks.
Vunipola also suggested the players encroaching into the All Blacks' half may have been because of confusion as to where they were supposed to stand.
"[Joe Marler] said he got confused," Vunipola said.
"He thought he was supposed to go all the way around it and go to their 10. But because of that, he's the one who has to pay the fine.
"He dishes it out a lot so the boys would be more than happy if he has to pay it."
Viewers absolutely loved the stand-off between the teams, taking to social media to express their delight.
— Monty Nero (@montynero) October 26, 2019
— Lady Jane Dent (@pitlanejane) October 26, 2019
Best response to the Haka I've seen. #RugbyWorldCup— Sara Lambert (@Lambert94Sara) October 26, 2019
— Rugby World Cup (@rugbyworldcup) October 26, 2019