The haka has been in the news lately following the fiery pre-match confrontation between the Junior Kiwis and Junior Kangaroos in Auckland, a clash that sparked controversy and split opinion.
War dances took centre stage again at Suncorp Stadium, with Samoa and New Zealand producing stirring renditions before their respective Four Nations Tests on Saturday. Thankfully, there was no repeat of the jostling before the junior Test – England and Australia stood respectfully at a safe distance.
Toa Samoa’s Siva Tau war dance, led by captain David Fa’alogo, ramped up the atmosphere to fever pitch – and it barely subsided thereafter as the gallant islanders produced an inspiring 80-minute performance in going down 32-26 to heavyweights England.
The Kiwis’ version of the haka is every bit as ferocious and rousing as the world-famous All Blacks’, and their performance prior to the clash with the Kangaroos was unique for the fact it was led by a suspended player, Isaac Luke, who came onto the field barefoot.
It proved a precursor to New Zealand’s fierce display in the Test, thumping Australia 30-12 – the Kiwi’s first victory over the all-conquering Kangaroos since 2010.