Find out the players' thoughts on how England set up to face New Zealand's haka

How England faced down the haka

There have been fewer showdowns in the face of New Zealand‘s haka in recent years since rules were introduced to keep both teams on their ten-metre lines – yet sides have still come up with unique ways to face the pre-match ritual.

In 2008, Wales had the stand-off/stare-off when they refused to move after the haka until the All Blacks did. In 2011, France formed an arrow shape ahead of the World Cup final against the All Blacks.

Now, in 2019, England formed a semi-circle around the haka ahead of their semi-final against New Zealand.

You can watch how it unfolded here…

So what was the thinking behind the statement positioning? And how did New Zealand feel about it? Here are the thoughts of the players…

England full-back Elliot Daly: “It’s something we spoke about, and obviously we wanted to be respectful. But we just wanted to accept the challenge from them. I know that we were accepting it, and it was just something different.”

Related: England 19-7 New Zealand Match Report

England centre Manu Tuilagi: “For me it is an honour to stand in front of the haka and I watched it growing up as a kid and you want to do it yourself. To see them do it again, it is an unbelievable feeling. It is a challenge and you respect it and accept it.

“Everyone wanted to show that we were ready and together. It was something different that I think Eddie (Jones) suggested. It was to show we were ready to accept the challenge against New Zealand and any game against them is tough particularly in a semi-final.”

New Zealand captain Kieran Read: “The haka had no impact on the game. They dominated the breakdown and we couldn’t work into our game and we were chasing.
“They did a good job. The boys really wanted it. You could see it in the first half, we conceded and we hung in there. It is pretty gutting when it doesn’t go your way.”

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