Battle Cries

Even more upsetting than giving the World Cup to New Zealand or losing a match to the All Blacks currently seems to be facing their new “throat slitting” haka. British media are feverishly objecting to New Zealand’s re-match ceremonies in a widespread outpouring of anti-haka sentiment. “Rugby’s rulers can start to make amends at Twickenham tomorrow. The issue is this: if a crazed thug drew a finger threateningly across his throat while screaming into someone’s face on a high street, police would have good grounds for arrest. Why should such antics be tolerated on a rugby field two minutes before kick-off?” asked The Times. The Telegraph also objected to the haka change “I agree, this haka should be banned – it is nowhere near as good as the traditional one and a third of the All Blacks looked as though they learned it only an hour before they delivered it to the English.” But some turned their thoughts to finding an equally rousing battle cry to meet the haka’s challenge. Henry V’s speech at Agincourt, poeticized by Shakepseare was one offering, William Wallace’s stirring words in Mel Gibson’s Braveheart another. Leading the way at the present time, however, are the words of a man much closer to the game, Fran Cotton. Legend has it that during the haka before their 1979 game against the All Blacks, Cotton walked up and down his line of men before uttering his immortal battle-cry: “Look at the big poofs dancing …” Cotton’s response proved to be effective. England won the match 21-9.


Tags: "throat-sliiting" haka  All Blacks  Braveheart  Fran Cotton  Henry V  Mel Gibson  New Zealand  Rugby World Cup  Telegraph (The)  Times (The)  traditional Haka  Twickenham  William Wallace  

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