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Haka attack

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When the All Blacks take on England at Twickenham on Saturday there will be almost as much attention paid to the ceremonial pre-match haka as to the match itself.

Rugby crowds love the aggressive Maori challenge but many purists call it offensive, intimidating and out of date. Especially if their teams are the ones having to face it.

Columnist Frank Keating described it as “now charmless eye-rolling, tongue-squirming dance”.

Opposing teams have adopted a variety of tactics to meet the challenge — some go eyeball-to-eyeball with the New Zealanders, others have formed a team-talk circle and ignored them. Last weekend Wales continued the confrontation to such an extent that the referee had to insist that the two teams stop trying to stare each other out and get on with the game.

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