FIERCE enemies Australia and New Zealand have both endorsed the All Blacks’ use of the haka after the tradition Maori war dance came under fierce criticism.
Ahead of the first Bledisloe Cup – the Rugby Championship opener – reported comments in a rugby book questioned the value of the haka in the modern era.
But support from the All Blacks was matched by the Wallabies, who are also looking for a more extensive indigenous recognition for their jersey in future.
Said New Zealand flanker Sam Cane: “From an All Blacks point of view we love doing the haka.
“We’re well aware of the strong history that it has and it’s part of who we are as All Blacks – it’s as strong and powerful as ever, in my opinion.”
He said: “They don’t do it for commercial purpose. They do it because it is something that is important to them in terms of their culture.
“From our perspective, we have an incredible amount of respect for it.”
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Australia captain Michael Hooper has been cleared to play after recovering from a hamstring injury.
Prop Scott Sio and winger Dane Haylett-Petty have also been given the green light.
Aussie giant Scott Sio has also been given the green light
The squad, trimmed down from 36, includes only two uncapped players in outside backs Tom Banks and Jack Maddocks.
That’s after Rory Arnold, Curtis Rona and Sefa Naivalu were cut from the preliminary training squad.
All Blacks centre Sonny Bill Williams has been ruled out for both Tests against Australia to continue a horror injury run that also saw him miss the entire France series on home soil.
Williams missed the first two Test against France with a knee injury and hasn’t played since damaging a shoulder joint in the third Test.