Wallaby coach John Connolly says the All Blacks’ throat-slitting haka is not good for the game.
Connolly said while he had no problem with the traditional Ka Mate haka, he had issues with the Kapa o Pango.
“As custodians of the game, we are continually talking about setting an example to young players and throat-slitting probably doesn’t send a good message,” he told the Sydney Morning Herald.
“Young sportsmen these days copy the Wallabies, they copy the All Blacks and I’d hate to think it led to a tragic consequence down the road.”
Earlier, New Zealand Rugby Union chief executive Chris Moller had said the public needed to be educated about the meaning behind the gesture.
Kapa O Pango composer Derek Lardelli said the haka ended with the word “Ha” meaning “the breath of life”.
“The words and motions represent drawing vital energy into the heart and lungs.”
The right arm searched for the “Ha” on the left side of the body, Lardelli said, while the head turned to the right also symbolically seeking vital energy.
The right hand hauled that energy into the pou-whakaora (the heart, lungs and air passages), then the eyes and tongue signalled that the energy had been harnessed before it was expelled with the final “Ha”.
All Black assistant coach Wayne Smit said his side would not stop doing the haka because of a few complaints.
“It’s a haka that’s meaningful for the boys, and I think it’s been covered in the past why we do it,” he said. “We do it for ourselves, it’s who we are, it’s been written by the team, it’s significant to the team and we’re pretty comfortable with it.”