Wallabies counter the haka with their ‘boomerang’ for the second straight Bledisloe Cup clash – despite All Blacks star insisting it is ‘disrespectful’ to Maori challenge
- Wallabies responded to the haka by standing in the shape of a boomerang
- They wheeled out the same response last week in Melbourne
- New Zealand star Rieko Ioane claimed that the response was disrespectful
- But Wallabies coach Dave Rennie has hit back at criticism and labelled it ‘odd’
- All Blacks star Sam Whitelock said he had no problems with the response
The Wallabies delivered an emphatic response to the haka before the second Bledisloe Cup Test, as they again walked towards the All Blacks in the shape of a boomerang.
The Aussies’ first wheeled out the unusual riposte ahead of the first Bledisloe Test last week in Melbourne and lay down the challenge again on Saturday in Auckland, as they looked for a first win at Eden Park in 36 years.
As the All Blacks performed their ritual pre-match challenge, the Wallabies players locked arms and formed a boomerang, before slowly walking towards their opponents.
The Wallabies responded to the haka by forming a boomerang at Eden Park on Saturday
Over the years, teams have tried different responses towards the haka. Pacific nations with similar traditions, such as Fiji, Tonga and Samoa perform challenges of their own during the haka.
England, Wales and France players have walked towards the All Blacks during the haka, with the crowd attempting to drown out the Maori ritual.
The Wallabies’ response, however, drew criticism from New Zealand star Rieko Ioane, who accused his Trans-Tasman rivals of disrespecting the haka.
Australia coach Dave Rennie brushed off Ioane’s complaint, labelling it ‘a bit odd’ and insisting the Wallabies would not ditch their pre-match response.
Over the years, the haka has drawn a variety of responses from opposing teams
‘I know Rieko Ioane had a lot to say to our boys after the final try, mouthing off at Folau Fainga’a about disrespecting the haka,’ the Wallabies coach said via Fox Sports.
‘Which is a bit odd because as New Zealanders would know, when a team does a haka you respond with a haka. We don’t have the luxury of responding with a haka.
‘So our response was in the boomerang shape and to move forward, and by throwing down a challenge we’re accepting it.’
All Blacks star Rieko Ioane claimed that the act was disrespectful to the haka
Wallabies coach Dave Rennie vowed his team will continue to use the boomerang as a response ahead of the game
All Blacks captain Sam Whitelock, however, said he welcomed the Australian response.
‘They’re doing something they want to do to show they’re together as a country […] that’s cool,’ he said.
‘If they want to do something that makes them feel connected, that’s great. It probably adds to the occasion.’