CAPE TOWN - Wallabies and All Black players have come to the defence of the Haka, following suggestions by critics and former New Zealand players that performing the traditional Maori war cry before every Test match may be too often.
Prop Kees Meeuws was quoted to have said that the haka had “lost its mana (prestige)” and “become a showpiece” in the book The Jersey by British author Peter Bills. “They should do it at certain Test matches but not all... now they play 14 Test matches a year and that's too much as far as the haka is concerned,” Meeuws said in an excerpt from the book published in the New Zealand Herald.
The comments prompted All Blacks coach Steven Hansen to defend the use of the Haka and now flank Sam Cane said has also thrown his weight behind the tradition. "The only article I've seen around it was on Kees Meeuws and we've been informed that unfortunately he was misquoted, so that's a shame,” Cane told Allblacks.com.
"But from an All Blacks point of view we love doing the haka. We do a light run through at captain's run and then we bust it out on Saturday and it's like the final touches of we're ready to go. We're well aware of the strong history that it has and it's part of who we are as All Blacks – it's as strong and powerful as ever, in my opinion.”
Utility back Ben Smith said: "It's our tradition, it's our history. That's just the way we prepare for a Test match. I think it's a massive privilege to be able to do the haka and it would be odd if we weren't to do that before a game."
Wallabies flank David Pocock said he felt the Haka was “special” and thought it should be left up to the All Blacks to decide how much it is used. Will Genia, Australia’s scrumhalf agreed.
"They don't do it for commercial purpose. They do it because it is something that is important to them in terms of their culture. From our perspective, we have an incredible amount of respect for it," he said.