SKY Sport New Zealand’s The Breakdown have taken issue with Craig Dowd’s assessment that the All Blacks’ pre-match ‘Kapa O Pango’ Haka was a sign of disrespect towards Ireland, claiming that it was in fact the complete opposite.
Saturday’s match in Chicago saw an inspired Ireland team beat the All Blacks for the very first time. While the result was historic, one of the more touching moments was the pre-game Haka.
As usual, the All Blacks lined up to deliver their traditional challenge, but the Irish response was just another element that added to a very special day.
Forming a figure eight to honour the late Munster and Ireland legend Anthony Foley, it was the likes of which we had never seen before, despite various other Haka responses over the years.
Unrattled and clearly playing for the great man, Ireland produced a fine performance for the ages.
Former All Black Craig Dowd took issue, however, with the particular Haka selected for the occasion, stating in his ESPN Scrum column: “I have to say I watched the Haka and cringed.
“Someone didn’t do their homework in the All Blacks camp. Knowing a little bit about the Irish mentality and having had a 64-Test cap veteran and ex-Munster coach Anthony Foley die recently, with all the players wearing black armbands and having a moment’s silence for him before the game, and knowing what that meant to the Irish team and the public, I thought pulling out the Kapa O Pango haka was disrespectful.”
Scotty Stevenson from The Breakdown was frustrated by Dowd’s assessment though, as he and guests labelled it “extremely ignorant” and “factually incorrect”, and said that Kapa O Pango is purely ceremonial and not a war challenge, as Dowd has stated.
All Black legend Christian Cullen added: “That’s a mark of respect for the Irish, for ‘Axel’ Foley… they bring it out (Kapa O Pango) for special occasions, when they know it’s gonna be a challenge.”
Opinions will always vary when it comes to the Haka. There are more than a few who believe it creates an unfair advantage and should be scrapped. However, most see it as part of the larger Rugby ethos and love the challenge it brings. Let us know what you think of Dowd’s comments.
credit: The Tight Five Rugby Union