The England rugby team have been fined for their response to New Zealand’s haka, despite World Rugby describing it as ‘incredible’ on several social media posts.
England came prepared to the Rugby World Cup semi-final on Saturday, October 26, arranging themselves into a V-formation to face the All Blacks as they performed the traditional haka ahead of the game.
World Rugby shared a video of the scene on YouTube:
They titled the video:
England’s incredible response to intense New Zealand Haka
The defiant stance, which many took to stand for ‘Victory’, was widely praised by both English and New Zealand rugby fans, with England being commended for their dignified response to what can be an intimidating experience.
However, though World Rugby were among those applauding the V-formation, they still had to enforce a fine against the team for breaking official World Rugby rules.
England players could be seen encroaching over the halfway line as the All Blacks performed the haka. The rules state no players from the team receiving the challenge may advance beyond the halfway line.
As a result, the team was informed on Monday it had been fined £2,000.
The fine is £500 less than the one France received in 2011 for forming an arrowhead shape and advancing on New Zealand before the World Cup final in Auckland.
World Rugby have just shy of 4 Million views of England's "incredible" Haka stance on their YouTube page.
England have been fined a four-figure sum.
If WR are monetizing their YouTube (they must be) they could have made a profit greater than the fine.
— Ali Stokes (@alistokesmedia) October 29, 2019
Owen Farrell, the England captain, commented on his team’s response following the game, which saw England win 19-7. He explained his players had planned the formation in order to make a statement to New Zealand, indicating his players were ready for the physical contest.
We didn’t just want to stand in a flat line and let them come at us.
— Rugby World Cup (@rugbyworldcup) October 26, 2019
New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen has made clear he was not offended by England’s response, instead describing it as ‘fantastic’.
According to BBC Sport, he commented:
They didn’t get fined for responding, they got fined because they went over halfway.
If you understand the haka then it requires a response. It’s a challenge to you personally and it requires you to have a response. I thought it was brilliant – quite imaginative too.
The England rugby team's response to the Haka yesterday was the best I've ever seen.
— Philip Pullman (@PhilipPullman) October 27, 2019
It is understood England’s fine will be donated to the Typhoon Higibis Relief Fund; a disaster fund to aid the survivors of the super typhoon that struck Japan on October 12.
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Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.