Auckland - Fiji coach Sam Domoni said critics of the famous haka could breakdance before games if they like, but they shouldn't stand in the way of the Pacific tradition.
Domoni was speaking after South Africa coach Peter de Villiers said the pre-match war dances were becoming over-exposed during the World Cup and were in danger of losing their impact.
Fiji will face Samoa on Sunday in a match where both teams will perform their intimidating chants and dances before kick-off at Eden Park in front of tens of thousands of partisan fans.
"It's a tradition for all the teams. It tells their culture and they're here to express themselves through that and through how they play the game," Domoni said.
"People can say whatever they think but it's tradition, it's been there all the time... (it's a proud moment) for us, for New Zealand, for whoever's doing it. These people can breakdance, whatever pleases their fancy. That's it."
Captain Deacon Manu dismissed De Villiers as a "bit of a spin doctor" and said Sunday's hakas - "cibi" in Fiji and "siva tau" in Samoa - would give important pointers about both teams.
"It's fantastic to have two teams going face to face in a World Cup in Auckland, of all places and showing the cibi and hakas against each other," he said.
"It's a fantastic occasion and you can certainly tell the intent from the hakas early on that it's going to be a match to remember."
Samoa prop Census Johnston went as far as saying his team couldn't perform without its haka, describing the routine as a vital part of their pre-match build-up.
"Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and so is Peter de Villiers. But for us, our haka's been around for quite a long time, it's part of our culture and part of where we come from," he said.
"Now it's always part of our traditional start-up. I don't think we can play without it. I think it gives you a bit of a build-up before games and I think everyone expects it, and so do we.
"It gives us a physical edge and we just hope that it doesn't die off in the 70th minute but it helps us to start off with."
However, a New Zealand Maori leader has backed De Villiers's comments and spoke out about the wave of haka "flash mobs" which have sprung up in recent weeks.