Sport Union England fined over response to All Blacks’ haka

England fined over response to All Blacks’ haka

England players, including Owen Farrell (right) face up to the New Zealand haka before the World Cup semi-final match. Photo: Getty
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England have been fined a four-figure sum for their V-shaped formation when facing the haka before their Rugby World Cup clash.

World Rugby has decided to reprimand and fine the English for their unorthodox response to the pre-match ritual.

England responded to the challenge of the haka by lining up across the pitch in a V formation.

Protocol dictates that the opposing side must remain in their own half, but six England players – Joe Marler, Billy Vunipola, Mark Wilson, Elliot Daly, Luke Cowan-Dickie and Ben Youngs – appeared to stand in the All Blacks half.

France were fined £2,500 for walking up to the haka ahead of the 2011 final.

The players revealed afterwards that the tactic was the idea of their coach Eddie Jones, with Mako Vunipola admitting afterwards that ‘we knew it would rile them up.’

England captain Owen Farrell was pictured smirking while the dance was performed, with New Zealand scrum-half Aaron Smith saying afterwards that Farrell winked at him.

Match officials, including referee Nigel Owens, attempted to usher the players back into their own half. They were unsuccessful, and this was taken into account by World Rugby in their deliberations.