Rugby Championship

Chanting during the haka: Fair or foul?

2016-10-11 13:18
South African fans at the Rio Sevens (Getty)

Cape Town - The crowd assembled at Kings Park in Durban on Saturday was in full voice during the national anthems - and particularly during the All Blacks' rendition of the haka.

WATCH: Durban crowd rocks anthem, drowns out haka

For those watching on TV, SuperSport commentators Matthew Pearce and Joel Stransky noted the stirring singing and "goosebumps" after the lyrics to Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika were belted out by some 50 000-odd fans.

However, shortly thereafter during the haka led by scrumhalf TJ Perenara, the words to 'Kapa o Pango' were drowned out by the chanting of 'Olé, Olé, Olé'.

The crowd's decision to do so was particularly interesting in that 'Olé, Olé, Olé' is a Spanish football chant and in no way related to South Africa.

It's seemingly only ever chanted during the All Blacks' haka - and not against any other rugby opposition at any stage during any tournament - nor during football or cricket or any other sporting matches in the country.

It also has to be noted that the All Blacks elected to perform the 'Kapa o Pango' version of their haka which is seen as them having more respect for their opposition than their other 'Ka Mate' option.

Have South African rugby crowds become disrespectful?

In Test matches in the northern hemisphere one can hear a pin drop while a kicker - home town hero or visiting opponent - lines up a shot at goal.

However it's common place in South Africa for stadium announcers to repeatedly beg and plead with fans to stop booing while an opponent takes aim at posts.

A quick canvass of Sport24 readers on social media appears to indicate that the vast majority believe that, especially during the once-off occasion that the haka in performed in South African every year, crowds remain silent rather than give the mighty All Blacks further motivation to beat the Springboks.

Is it disrespectful for crowds to sing / chant / make a noise during the haka? Should they remain silent? Let us know at

Reading your article regarding the Haka. It is a disgrace listening to SA supporters sing ola ola - no respect!- Stuart

The Haka is one of the sacred traditions of rugby that keeps us sane from the growing commercialism of the game. The fans just could not accept the challenge. - Unknown

I was at Kings Park on Saturday and sung and shouted proudly .No it is not disrespectful.The Haka is   meant to intimidate the opposition team. By drowning it out, we intimidate them and let them know that they are also playing against the whole stadium too! World rugby wont let any team advance on the haka like used to happen , so we drown it out! Go to new Zealand and see how their crowd boos our kicker when he is going for goal!- Kevin

Yes it is. It is a sign of respect to be quiet for it, just as you respect the anthems. - Elaine

It is disrespectful. - Pottie

I'm a South African supporting the mighty ALL BLACKS, i have visit New Zealand a few times and understand the culture, the way of life of the Maori people and of course the history of New Zealand once you understand that then you will respect the HAKA. I believe it is extremely disrespectful to do what the crowd done at Kings park, however was not surprised at all. Australians use to sing Waltzing Matilda during the HA KA however that have stopped and the reason is you show fear as country, it shows you as a nation don't have confidence in your team so you must show disrespect to try to unsettled the ALL BLACKS. It motivates them because they know by you showing disrespect as I mentioned already it's the first sign of fear for them.- Louwrens

It is disrespectful.  Not only to the All Blacks, but also to the Maori nation. No other rugby crowd behaves like this.
The pathetic ole ole chant, just serves to motivate  the All Blacks even more. Look what happened last Saturday in Durban. South African fans need to embrace the haka and show respect. - Trev

Unacceptable,a form of intimidation, especially the motion of slitting the throat,would like the bokke to show them a brown eye - Gary

Its a tradition why now do this i think SA Supporters should rather focus on the fact that our rugby also mabye needs a haka really u guys just gave the all blacks fire - Ansie

Personally think it is utterly disrespectful to chant or boo or make any noise during the HAKA. It should be admired and appreciated by the crowd as this is the challenge being thrown out to your team - Jacques

I feel it is very disrespectful ?to chant or boo during the performance of the Haka. The Haka is seen as a traditional challenge to opposing teams and is not meant to be viewed as disrespectful on the part of the All Blacks.Imagine going to an All Blacks game and not experiencing the Haka!  It just wouldn't be the same. It should be seen as a privilege to experience the Haka live. I was fortunate to be at the stadium and I know many, many fans were waiting to experience the Haka. I actually felt embarrassed to be a South African when experiencing the behaviour of the majority in the crowd! South African rugby fans need to get over themselves. So yes, I would say respect the Haka and enjoy the privilege of experiencing it. - Greg

Absolutely disrespectfull.
We expect respect for our culture
Hence we need to respect the anthem and also any cultural expressions of our opponents.
It speaks to our values and humility as a nation.
There is never an excuse for disrespectful behaviour. - Sandy

Take a listen to the crowd when we played Australia and Argentina in their backyards.Absolute silence with the Haka.But noooooo,south african fans had to go on like hooligans.But thanks,we showed them at the end. - Pieter

This to is just very disrespectful because the haka is part of who they are as people and rugby players , its like making a noise when they are singing their not cool..!! - Vaughan

Shame Springbok fans sing ola ola ola then they want to come and lecture us SA All Black supporters about whats wrong and right.Thing is Ola ola is not even a SA thing its Spanish so what does that have to do with SA Rugby????????????????- Corne

So they were drowned on the haka but then they drowned S.A. .. didn't even realise - Daryle

They were behaving badly.Give the AB respect because after all it is their tradition. We can try out the toi toi..... - Danny

They just did not respect the opposition. I new that we were gonna hammer them for being disrespectful of our beloved Haka - Moyahabo

South Africans are the MOST DISRESPECTFUL nation on the face of this earth. - Jacques

Poor Sportsmanship...... Got what you deserved. - Raymond

The Durban fans are always disrespectful. - Casper

Never dis the haka , you'll pay. - Michael

Absolutely disrespectful. One of the many reasons I no longer support the boks. It's not just a challenge to the opposition but a show to rugby fans all over watching the match. You want to back your team? Do it during the match. In NZ you can actually hear the warcry because all fans are quiet. Even the opposing fans have respect. It would be much better having them stop it altogether just because our country's fans do not have the decency to let the boks take the challenge. What do you achieve by drowning out the Haka? Do we play better? Is the team more fired up because the fans show disrespect to opposition tradition? No. That's why the scoreline is a beautiful sight. I support the lions so its not that i am against SA rugby. I'm against fans who do something because of their own warped ideas and hide behind 'team support' you didn't get this in the start of the professional era. We come across as a bunch of thugish idiots who think yelling ole ole ole (which isnt even ours to start with) will change anything other than the world's perception at our lack of sportsmanship. Maybe if we respect others more, its a start to being better people. Good people make good All blacks. So if our national team encourages people to stop disrespecting the opposition...maybe we've achieved the first step to becoming a better team. Since all they do is show respect to our country and it's people. - Audre

I believe it is disrespectful for crowds to sing, chant or make noises while the All Blacks are performing there Haka, and I truly believe that in doing so it motivates the All Blacks to perform better and performed they did in Durban. It has been proven time and time again every team that has disrespected the Haka in there own way has received a massive hiding from the All Blacks. For example Wales stare down with the All Blacks is probably the most memorable and what happened the got there butts handed to them. This past weekend it was no different and the result was always going to be what transpired. If Barett had kicked all his conversation the final score line would have been All Blacks 68 – 15 Springboks plus if the tries of the All Blacks wasn’t disallowed the score line would have been even greater. Yes the try was disallowed but it goes on to show that the All Blacks crossed the try line more than just 9 times. The All Blacks was always going to win on Saturday and I even predicted a wining margin of 25 point for them to win by on SuperBru. To cap this off I truly believe the Boks will not win any of the end of year tour games against the Barbarians, England, Wales & Italy and perhaps if they do win it will most probably be against Italy but that cannot be known for certain. In all fairness the way the Boks are playing/coached right now they don’t deserve to win any of the end of year tour games. - Wouter

It's a damn disgrace and completely disrespectful to one of the greatest traditions in world rugby. SA fans can hang their heads in shame. - Peter

I was ashamed to be a South African,but very proud to be a ALL BLACK supporter.The crowd showed total disrespect for a sacred and very important NZ tradition.I am glad the All Blacks smashed the hopeless Boks. - Edmond

There is nothing positive that one can say about the chanting etc. during the Haka.The word boorish sums it up. It is also a most selfish act as there are those of us who actually want to hear the Haka.With regards to the noise created when a kicker is going for poles, if I was in a position of authority, I would allow the referee to call time until the noise stopped and should there be any noise before the kick was completed I would allow a second chance to the kicker. And whilst on the subject of noise, I would ban all and any music during the actual match. Who ever thought that music was appropriate is deluded. - David

I am of the opinion that the crowd should respect the haka and further agree that they should also remain silent whilst the kicker prepares and actually strikes the ball after which they can go wild - Keith

No it is not disrespectful to boo the haka. Why do all the rugby nations have to stand to attention for the haka? It never used to happen. This is relatively new and it makes no sense. Should we all develop a little dance and perform before every rugby game? This is a New Zealand thing and should be performed in the locker room.- Cheryl

The haka is a great rugby tradition performed last Saturday by probably the best rugby team of all time. Chanting by the crowd during the haka is boorish and disrespectful. The same applies to the Newlands crowds when opponents are kicking at goal. SA rugby is going through a bad patch currently and the behaviour of the crowd in Durban last Saturday made that patch seem even worse! - Paddy


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