Wellington - All Blacks manager Darren Shand says the French rugby team should not have been fined for confronting New Zealand's Maori haka or ceremonial challenge in the tense moments before kick-off in Sunday's Rugby World Cup final.
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As the New Zealand team performed the ceremonial haka, known as Kapa O Pango, France linked arms and formed a 'V' formation, then fanned out and marched from the 10 metre line across the halfway line.
The French team has been fined 10 000 pounds because their action breached an International Rugby Board regulation on how the haka should be faced, introduced after previous confrontations.
Shand said in a radio interview on Tuesday a fine was too severe a sanction for the offence.
"They came to play and that was great," he said. "The culture challenge is that. It should be done and then we get on with the real stuff."
France captain Thierry Dusautoir said the French team had decided on the morning of the match to confront the haka.
"At one stage we were so close to them that they wanted to kiss the New Zealanders, but I told them to take it easy," he said. "It was a great moment and a moment we will remember all our lives."