Tuesday 23 January 2018

Away in a haka went a match we could've won

Liam Messam: All Blacks' haka gives them a psychological edge
Liam Messam: All Blacks' haka gives them a psychological edge

* There are those who view the haka in a flippant way, and those who see it as a 'fun thing'. I view it differently. Seen as a quaint, mildly entertaining event in the early days of global rugby, the traditional haka has been misused, abused, fine-tuned and transformed by the All Blacks into an effective declaration of warfare on the sports arena. I don't need to enlarge on the proven subliminal effects of psychological warfare. Many a battle has been won, and lost, due to the psychological factor.

Further, what gives the All Blacks special rights to be allowed extra pitch time to perform a menacing 'war dance', designed to get their 'blood lust' up? And while they perform this ritual, the opposing team is expected to stand quietly, watch respectfully, wait patiently, be silent – and, rendered impotent, 'accept' the haka! What a farce!

A retired New Zealand rugby coach recently informed me that the haka has reached proportions whereby if a member of the opposing team is seen to be 'disrespectful', inattentive, smiles, laughs, looks away etc while he should be 'accepting' the haka, he will almost certainly be singled out for attention during the game. More than a few were punished accordingly yesterday, it seems.

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