MOMENTS BEFORE KICK-OFF this Sunday, the All Blacks will gather at the edge of their half and perform their Haka war cry that will call Ireland out and ask what they are made of.
The long-standing tradition is one of the greatest sights in rugby and has often proved a pivotal staging point for memorable Kiwi performances. One Irish player that will be unmoved by the sight is Cian Healy, who starts at loosehead against the All Blacks.
“It’s just a Haka,” Healy told TheScore.ie. “It’s something I loved as a kid and I hate it now. People treat it different ways but it’s going to be there so you have to deal with it.”
Asked why he has develop a dislike for the pre-match spectacle, Healy replied, “Because you have to stand against it. We don’t play our two anthems in different countries so… I don’t know.”
The prop’s candid response sparked a flurry a questions before diplomacy eventually prevailed. “They’re entitled to [do it]; it’s part of their history. It’s just how I treat it myself,” said Healy before adding that his stance was personal and not reflective of the team.
Cian Healy is no longer a fan of the Haka. INPHO/Dan Sheridan
Ireland captain Paul O’Connell did his best to nip any potential ‘I hate Haka’ controversy by expressing his admiration for the war cry. “It’s a fantastic part of the game; a traditional part of the game. I’ve seen it a lot of times and stood in front of it a lot of times. It’s something I’ve a lot of respect for.”
“I wouldn’t say I enjoy it,” O’Connell added, “I respect it. You stand there and respect it. After that, you’ve just got to get your own head on and focus yourself and get ready to play.”
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