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Dublin: 9 °C Monday 1 June, 2020

Which is your favourite haka?

We all perform the bar-counter haka and the where’s-my-car-keys haka, but here’s five of the best on-field versions.

Image: PA

THE ALL BLACKS are in town and the anticipation is building ahead of their first appearance at the new Lansdowne Road on Saturday.

Before kick off, of course, the Irish players will line up and face one of the most exciting spectacles in professional sport: the haka.

This week, in New Zealand, a deal edged closer for the All Blacks to continue to perform the Ka Mate haka if it is trademarked by Ngati Toa.

Lawyers for the New Zealand Rugby Union expect an agreement within weeks.

As Gerry Thornley, Irish Times rugby correspondent said this week: “It is one of the great pre-match pageants in world sport, so why ban it now, and why not take exception to the hakas of Samoa and Tonga?”

Part of the All Blacks’ allure is the haka. Families gather around television sets all over the rugby world just to watch it. It is compelling.

At least the Lansdowne Road crowd will afford it the respect which the Shakespearean mob-like Twickenham crowd again failed to do last Saturday week.

To draw it out with Swing Low – heh, each to their own – or anything else for that matter, just shows an utter lack of respect for somebody else’s culture.

So before we’re treated to to the ritual in Dublin 4 this weekend, let’s take a look at some past ones.

5. All Blacks v France

Soon after Tana Umaga stopped gurning, the French surrendered. But seriously folks, Les Bleus almost always put it up to them – and the crowd are respectful.

4. All Blacks v South Africa

The Springboks must be well used to facing the haka at this stage – but when the Kiwis pull out the ‘cut-throat’ variety – which this one is called, you’ve got to be a little freaked.

3. All Blacks v the British and Irish Lions

As this haka ended, Lions captain Brian O’Driscoll picked up a blade of grass and threw it in the air – accepting the challenge from the All Blacks, as he had been instructed earlier in the tour. Bad move.

Moments later he was spear tackled into the soil by Umaga and Keven Mealamu, ending his trip.

2. Samoa v Kiwis

The Samoans and Tongans also perform hakas. It can get pretty heated.

1. Munster v All-Blacks

Four former Kiwis laid down a traditional challenge to the All Blacks at Thomond Park last year. Former New Zealand players Doug Howlett, Rua Tipoki, Lifeimi Mafi and Jeremy Manning performed the Kamate Kamate haka while their team mates locked arms in support behind them.

The All Blacks respectfully stood and accepted the challenge before reciprocating. Amazing stuff.

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