England fined for their haka V-sign

ENGLAND have been fined a four-figure sum, following their V-shaped formation during New Zealand’s haka, before their World Cup semi-final showdown last Saturday.

Eddie Jones, their head coach, was behind the tactic, which was employed before the kick-off during their opponents’ traditional Maori war dance.

And while the V-shape is not an issue, England have been fined and reprimanded by World Rugby after breaching regulations, which state that opponents must not cross the halfway line during the pre-match ritual.

Six England players could be seen in breach of the ruling, but captain Owen Farrell said: “We knew we had to be in a radius behind them. But we didn’t want to stand there and let them come at us. We wanted to be respectful, but we didn’t just want to stand in a flat line.”

Officials could be seen asking players at both tips of the V to retreat, including Joe Marler, Billy Vunipola, Mark Wilson, Elliot Daly, Luke Cowan‑Dickie and Ben Youngs, but they failed to succeed.

According to the Guardian newspaper, England have been fined less than the £2,500 France had to pay when they adopted a similar formation during the 2011 World Cup final.  Then, most of the French squad stood in advance of the halfway line.

World Rugby have stuck by their policy again, having brought in its “cultural ritual protocol” in 2007.

That came as a response to France’s first answer to the haka, which ended with players from both sides going nose-to-nose. It followed the French forming a tricolour in red, white and blue

T-shirts, just a few feet away from their counterparts.

England’s Mako Vunipola revealed: “We talked about it as a team but everything has to get past the boss, who gave us the idea. We wanted to be respectful, but we also wanted to make sure that they understood we would be ready for the fight.

“We knew it would rile them up. It probably felt like we disrespected them, but we meant no offence by it. We just wanted to let them know that we were ready for the challenge ahead.”





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