Haka – something that once upon a time used to be a great piece of sporting theatre but what has in recent years turned into some sort of nonsensical politically correct hot potato.
I have previously made known my views on the Haka and in particular the ludicrous idea that the rugby world is expected to pay it some kind of awe-inspired respect, especially when virtually every response is in some way regarded as disrespectful and an affront to Maori culture.
For some reason, however, the IRB appears to have stuck its nose in where it is not wanted by fining the Wallaroos, Australia's women's rugby team, £1000 for advancing on the Black Ferns’ Haka before their World Cup pool match last month.
IRB tournament rules apparently now dictate that teams must face the Haka and remain motionless 10 metres on their own side of the halfway line, a protocol which would be laughable were it not so tragic.
The whole issue has been thrown into glorious confusion by a typically irreverent piece by our friends over at The East Terrace, the only problem being that the words used in the spoof article were then quoted verbatim as a genuine IRB statement by TVNZ who had somehow failed to get the joke.
Joking aside, it’s clear that the IRB have got this one badly wrong. I’d encourage every international team facing the All Blacks this season to breach this ludicrous protocol and take whatever fine is coming, so long as the message hits home that this stage-managed nonsense has gone far enough.