The All Blacks performed their pre-match haka Ka Mate in the dressing rooms because of a dispute with the Welsh Rugby Union.
The hosts had insisted that the haka be done between the national anthems and not after the anthems had been sung.
The All Blacks told the Welsh Rugby Union where to get off and did the haka in private prior to taking the field.
“There’s a tradition that has built up over 100 years,” said All Blacks manager Darren Shand in a statement.
“It is respected around the world and we asked the Welsh Rugby Union to do the same.”
XtraMsn reports that the WRU, however, had insisted that the haka be performed between the anthems. In 2005, the All Blacks agreed to the same request to mark the centenary of rugby between the two nations and received a promise from the WRU that the request was strictly a one-off.
“The haka is a special part of world rugby,” noted Shand. “It’ll be a sad day for fans everywhere if we start to erode the tradition. We had concerns about last year’s change that, unfortunately, seem to be justified.”
All Blacks captain Richie McCaw said the team acted to protect the tradition of haka that is integral to New Zealand culture and the All Blacks’ heritage.
“The tradition needs to be honoured properly if we’re going to do it,” said McCaw. “If the other team wants to mess around, we’ll just do the haka in the shed. At the end of the day, haka is about spiritual preparation and we do it for ourselves. Traditionally fans can share the experience too and it’s sad that they couldn’t see it today.”