Cape Town - England face a possible fine from World Rugby following their response to the All Blacks’ haka prior to their semi-final in Yokohama last Saturday.
According to The Guardian website, as the All Blacks lined up for their traditional pre-game war dance, England's players formed a 'V'-shape and had to be told repeatedly by officials to retreat when they crossed the halfway line.
England’s players revealed that coach Eddie Jones was behind the plan to counter New Zealand’s traditional Maori challenge in order to show they were “ready for anything”.
Prop Mako Vunipola admitted "we knew it would rile them up" while captain Owen Farrell, who could be seen smirking during the dance, said: “We wanted not to just stand there and let them come at us.”
All Blacks scrumhalf Aaron Smith said afterwards that Farrell was winking at him while the haka was being performed.
In 2011, France formed an arrow shape and advanced on New Zealand while they performed the haka before the World Cup final and were subsequently fined £2 500 (R47 000 at today's exchange rate) for breaching a “cultural ritual protocol”.
A fine would be a small price to pay as England went on to torment the defending champion All Blacks for the full 80 minutes, emerging victorious 19-7.
England will play the Springboks in next Saturday's final in Yokohama (11:00 SA time), while the All Blacks take on Wales in the third place playoff in Tokyo on Friday (11:00 SA time).
- Compiled by Garrin Lambley