Wednesday 21 February 2018 / 02:17 PM

Heated haka takes spotlight in junior Test

The New Zealand haka is a special tradition to behold, and opposition teams go about responding to it in different ways.

There have been various Australian Indigenous sides and Pacific Island nations that reply with their own traditional war dance.

In a rugby union Test, Wales and New Zealand engaged in a two-minute standoff following the haka, while Ireland advanced forward to the All Blacks until they were nose to nose at Dublin’s Landsdowne Road in 1989.

The Junior Kangaroos’ response to the Junior Kiwis’ haka on the weekend was reminiscent of Ireland in 1989, although perhaps with a little less respect shown in a fiery prelude to the Mt Smart Stadium-hosted Test.

The Kangaroos immediately move forward as the Kiwis break their circle and start the haka.

The two teams get face to face and stare each other down before New Zealand complete their haka.

Tempers almost spilled over with a bit of push-and-shove afterwards, but nothing too untoward. Some viewed it as simply a great response and an acceptance of the Kiwis’ challenge, although Junior Kiwis coach Brett Gemmell called for common sense and protocols in the future to avoid a potentially ugly incident.

The drama was far from over following the explosive pre-match confrontation. The trans-Tasman rivals were locked at 14-all inside the final minute with both sides posting three tries, before a Te Maire Martin field goal nudged the hosts in front.


But the Kangaroos had a last-ditch opportunity to snatch the game away, receiving a penalty inside the Kiwis’ half. Ryan Matterson’s equalising field goal attempt was off target, but barnstorming Kiwi prop Sam Lisone’s illegal challenge on the kicker drew another penalty.


Exciting Manly rookie Clint Gutherson’s penalty goal shot from 40 metres out was wide of the mark, however, handing a heartstopping victory to the Kiwis, who boasted just one player with NRL experience to the Kangaroos’ seven. 




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