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The right to respond

The right to respond

Following lengthy discussions with the New Zealand Team management, the Welsh Rugby Union were saddened to learn that the All Blacks had decided not to perform their traditional war dance, The Haka, prior to the Invesco Perpetual Series match against Wales at the Millennium Stadium today (25th November 2006).

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The Welsh players, along with the WRU, were keen to meet the formal Maori challenge laid down in NZ folklore as the keepers of the land.

The WRU took advice from Maori chiefs (Kaumatua) before last year’s game and were assured that The Haka was performed to invite a response from the opposing team.

This year the NZRU were informed in meetings prior to today’s fixture that the formal response from the Wales team, and the Welsh nation, would be the Welsh National Anthem, Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau.

The WRU have also been informed by a top Maori expert and cultural advisor that The Haka is performed to invite a response from the opposing team. The WRU were told their team should stand strong in front of the All Blacks, be defiant, eyeball them and sing it in a way that says ‘this is us, this is who we are, we’re the tangata whenua (the traditional owners and protectors of the land)’.

The WRU informed their NZ counterparts of the formal pre-match protocol six weeks ago (October 16th 2006). This followed the pre-match protocol from the very first game in 1905, which was replicated last year.

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