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Former All Black slams 'disrespectful' haka performed against Ireland

Craig Dowd feels the use of the Kapa O Pango highlighted the poor preparation done by Steve Hansen’s side.

Image: Photosport/Andrew Cornaga/INPHO

FORMER ALL BLACK prop Craig Dowd has lashed out at New Zealand’s current crop for performing a “disrespectful” haka against Ireland in Chicago on Saturday.

New Zealand, led by replacement scrum-half TJ Perenara, performed the war cry haka Kapa O Pango instead of the more solemn Ka Mate haka which he felt was more appropriate for the occasion.

Dowd felt that it was a poorly-thought move considering the recent passing of former Ireland international and Munster coach Anthony Foley.

“I have to say I watched the haka and cringed,” wrote Dowd, who played 60 Test matches for the All Blacks from 1993-2000, in a column for ESPN.

“Someone didn’t do their homework in the All Blacks camp.

“Knowing a little bit about the Irish mentality and having had a 64-Test cap veteran and ex-Munster coach Anthony Foley die recently, with all the players wearing black armbands and having a moment’s silence for him before the game, and knowing what that meant to the Irish team and the public, I thought pulling out the Kapa O Pango haka was disrespectful.

“I’ve been to funerals and you do the Ka Mate haka to honour a warrior and it is different to doing the battle cry, or war cry, of Kapa O Pango which is a more aggressive challenge.

“I thought, ‘you guys haven’t done your research here, you haven’t actually thought through the process’.”

Dowd, like many of his compatriots, was full of praise for the Ireland performance and conceded they were the best team on the day.

However, he also pointed to a number of key failings by Steve Hansen’s side, particularly highlighting how the ease of New Zealand’s previous experience in Chicago, a 74-6 victory against the US two years ago, had diluted their typical Test intensity.

I think those inside the All Blacks’ environment will put their hands up and admit that, two years ago, going to Chicago and having such a great time in the party atmosphere before taking on the United States and thrashing them, probably had some psychological connection with their performance this time around in the Windy City.

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The former Blues prop, 47, also applauded Ireland’s tactical approach, which he felt revolved around slowing the game down and matching the All Blacks physically.

“From that moment after the haka, the Irish normally spill over the top, the adrenaline gets to them and they do something stupid.

“It’s almost like they had a composure about them this time and normally you just don’t see that in an Irish team.

“As a result, I wonder if part of their strategy was to slow the game down.

“It was a case of ‘the All Blacks are fitter than us’, there were injuries all the time.

“Every opportunity they had the game stopped and things were slowed down and they went at their pace. And they dictated that and took away that whole fitness element around the All Blacks.

“I’m not saying this was cheating. It was a good, really well thought out tactic and the Irish went out and took it to the All Blacks.

“They were more physical than we were, they starved us of the ball and they punished us for not starting two decent lineout locks — it was their day.”

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