Hail NZ but let’s hack the haka

Did French remember Rainbow Warrior? 25 October 2011

Fireworks, street parades – bring it on New Zealand, you’ve deserved it after an annus horribilis that practically destroyed Christchurch, one of your great cities.

The Rugby World Cup 2011 is over and those of us who know nothing of the game can stop being instant experts and retreat to more sublime pastimes like Spring Racing and cricket, the latter beamed at us all in ubiquitous waves of all its different forms.

So we can rest and let those of them still left on the two islands recover from their party hangover and their former seed can come back to Australia where most of them live anyway.


ABC Radio reported this morning that France – so gallant in a 7-8 loss in the final they were given ‘zero chance of winning’ by the usually astute Gerard Whateley – had been fined $15,000.

In the lead up to this news report, no mention had been made of rugby union or even sport – France had been fined $15,000 – so I was bemused as to what reason was given for the penalty.

In a world where the word billion slips from the tongue as twenty quid once may have done to a punter, a fine of such minimal proportion could not relate to international diplomacy. You don’t fine the Frogs fifteen long for once again sniffing about Moruroa Atoll.

Had the tricolour been illegally raised in Auckland harbour near where the Rainbow Warrior met its demise?

No, I was right, it wasn’t to do with historic or diplomatic bon mots but had in fact a relation to sport – and indeed the World Cup final. The French team had entered a no-go zone during the All Blacks’ haka.

Personally I find this a good thing and worthy of praise rather than condemnation and penalty. The haka is one of the so-called great set pieces of international sport. Surely, this must be so because commercial television plays examples of it in every news report relating to sport involving New Zealand.

What a load of tosh!

In a scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones fights off a horde of Arabs and is slowly getting to his feet when the screaming throng of bazaar onlookers parts to reveal a giant man, swathed in black and ready to do battle with our hero. Indy draws his revolver and, with a single shot, puts paid to the people’s hero.

This should happen with the haka. Why should the New Zealanders have this intimidating bit of theatre to use against their opponents?

Bring out a gatling gun, mow ’em down and call for the All Blacks bench to cobble together a 15 and get out on the park and let’s play rugby. Seeing how tough Richie McCaw is, he’d probably still be able to captain them despite having more holes in him than a Lord Monckton argument.

Now, that would be worthy fare for the 6 O’clock News.

Favouring France against others isn’t a very popular position to take but they were great on Sunday and compared to Australia the previous week actually took a mark (is that a rugby term?). We didn’t turn up to play, the French did.

There’s a simple reason for this. Have a look at the Australian coach. From the day he was appointed I have been telling friends that this guy had ‘non winner’ written all over him.

You may recall a Mother’s homily of not being able to tell a book by its cover. Sorry Mum, it works for me.

Dump him, find a good coach and appoint Dermott Brereton as a consultant. He can inspire the Australians to run through the haka while it’s being performed.

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