Monday 19 February 2018

France facing fine for advancing on final haka

France are facing a fine of around €3,000 for advancing on the haka ahead of the World Cup final on Sunday.

France captain Thierry Dusautoir admitted after the game that his team had wanted to make a statement by forming a 'V' at the 10m mark and walking up to the halfway line midway through the All Blacks' pre-match war dance.

But several members of the team stepped beyond the line, breaching an International Rugby Board regulation for the World Cup.

"At one stage, we were so close to them that they wanted to kiss the New Zealanders, but I told them to take it easy," Dusautoir said.

Dusautoir -- yesterday named IRB Player of the Year -- said the French only came up with the idea on the morning of the game.

"It was a great moment and a moment we will remember all our lives."

An IRB spokesman said the punishment for the offence would be €3,000. A final decision is likely to be made later this week.

Dusautoir's prestigious award will come as some consolation to the 29-year-old Toulouse flanker following the 8-7 loss to the All Blacks at Eden Park. He succeeds All Blacks captain Richie McCaw, who had won the accolade for the past two years. He becomes the first Frenchman to receive the award since Fabien Galthie in 2002.

New Zealand landed the best team gong, with Graham Henry taking the coaching honour.

Dusautoir had an outstanding season for Les Bleus and was impressive throughout the World Cup even when his team was struggling dismally. He reserved his best display for the final, when his defensive effort and ball-carrying inspired the French.

He was picked ahead of five other nominees: New Zealand scrum-half Piri Weepu, flanker Jerome Kaino and centre Ma'a Nonu and Australia flanker David Pocock and scrum-half Will Genia.

Irish Independent

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