Thinking and talking about rugby every day for 50+ years
26 August 2014
At last some outright commonsense is coming into the pre-match presentation at rugby tests in New Zealand. While it is all very well to be wise after the event there was never any place for bloody great bombs going off at the end of the challenge laid down before the recent tests after the All Black's haka.
I noted at an England test a few weeks back that the explosions actually were being timed and choreographed by some pyrotechnics experts to explode as the All Blacks did the 'hee-ha!' bit at the end of their traditional challenge.
Why I ask?
And sitting in one's seats you could, for a few seconds, feel a ferocious heatwave rush across the field and into the faces of the fans. Apart from a show of some kind of Kiwi macho strutting - what was the purpose of this?
None that I could see. Just bloody dangerous.
To my of thinking the explosions were always going to an accident waiting to happen.
I hope the nice lady who bought an All Black jersey after her husband had surprised her with the tickets to the game but who then had her head sliced open in the explosion is not averse to putting her possibly burnt hands out to ask for some serious compensation from the NZRU.
And that compensation should not be just free tickets to the next test!
1 September 1956
The All Blacks win in Auckland, thus taking its first ever test series v South Africa - at last!
On a dramatic day at Eden Park NZ wins 11-5 and takes the 4-test series by 3-1. Peter Jones scored a try and made a great radio speech. He was 'buggered,' he said!
A Maori challenge, or war dance, which is traditionally performed by New Zealand rugby teams before their test matches. Vigorous, aggressive and intimidating, the haka was a ritual dance performed as much to fire up its proponents as to strike terror into the hearts of the enemy. In the rugby context, the haka issues to the opposition the challenge to play hard and well.
The first New Zealand team to perform the haka was the 1905–06 team in Britain. The 1928 All Black team in South Africa did the haka and the South Africans replied with a war chant of their own, being made up on the morning of the game!
New Zealanders know that when All Black teams are made up only of Pakeha players (Europeans), the haka is never performed with the vigour and feeling exhibited by Maori players.
Originally the haka was only performed by New Zealand teams when they were playing away from home, but when Scotland toured New Zealand in 1975 and later during the World Cup games in 1987, the haka was from then on always seen within New Zealand too. It is enormously popular in all the countries visited by New Zealand teams.
Which New Zealand sports broadcaster once described a tight tennis match as 'a Battle of Nutrition.'