How Americans Perceive the Haka
12 November 2013 – “Maori players screamed, made faces, pounded their chests and flexed their bulging muscles while chanting in unison,” writes Mike Still in a report for the Philadelphia Inquirer on the Maori All Blacks’ game against the USA Eagles at the weekend. The sports writer described the pre-match ritual as “famously intimidating,” while Eagles captain Todd Clever said after the game: “Facing it [is] an honour”.
The Maori team were expected to make easy work of the Eagles after the previous week clinically dispatching Canada, which had in turn beaten USA twice in August.
But the Eagles were magnificently competitive before a sell-out crowd at PPL Park in Philadelphia. At half-time, they led a very good Maori team 9-7. The second half saw USA leak 12 unanswered points, before rallying to cut the margin to 3 points with seven minutes on the clock.
But a final try to the Maori All Blacks resulted in a 29-19 victory.
Coach Colin Cooper was impressed: “The USA really brought it. If we didn’t have the spirit that we had, we would have lost today.”
Captain Tim Bateman also had kind words for the Eagles. “[Captain Todd Clever] was indicative of the way they played; they put everything into it.”