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Dublin: 12 °C Saturday 19 April, 2014

The Siva Tau: the Samoan war dance Ireland will face

Here’s what Joe Schmidt’s men will be challenged with before Saturday’s test match in Dublin.

Devin Toner faces the Siva Tau in 2010.
Devin Toner faces the Siva Tau in 2010.
Image: ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

NEW ZEALAND’S HAKA is famous across the world, even outside the sporting sphere.

It is treated with awe, respect, disapproval and even disinterest (David Campese we’re looking at you) in different parts of the world, but it is always a fascinating spectacle no matter the opposition’s reaction. However, the Kiwis are not the only nation in world rugby who perform a pre-game war dance.

Tonga and Samoa also choose to lay down a challenge to the opposition directly before kick-off, with Ireland’s opponents this Saturday set to perform the Siva Tau. This war dance emerged for the 1991 World Cup, replacing the existing Ma’ulu’ulu Moa which was considered to be less intimidating.

The Siva Tau was quickly embraced and appeared to bring a more aggressive edge to Samoa’s play. Indeed, their new war dance had an immediate effect as Wales were beaten 16-13 in the first pool game of the tournament, a huge shock, and what was considered one of the darkest days in Welsh rugby history. The Samoans went on to reach the quarter-finals of that World Cup before losing to a Gavin Hastings-led Scotland.

Ever since, the Siva Tau has played a key role in allowing the Samoan players to challenge their opponents to battle, as well as psyching themselves up for the games directly before kick off. The Samoans are scattered across France and England when they play club rugby and the Siva Tau allows them to pay respect to their cultural traditions as well as bringing them together before games.


YouTube credit: theWildOne08

The Siva Tau translates into English as the following:

The Manu Samoa, may you succeed in
your mission.
The Manu Samoa, may you succeed in
your mission.
The Manu Samoa, here I come.
There is no other Manu anywhere.
Here I come completely prepared.
My strength is at its peak.
Make way and move aside,
Because this Manu is unique.
The Manu Samoa, The Manu Samoa.

So what do you reckon; is the Siva Tau as threatening as the New Zealanders’ famous haka? How should Ireland respond to the Samoan’s war dance?

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