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Zinzan Brooke column

Zinzan Brooke

All Blacks legend

If the All Blacks start thinking that opposition teams don't have the right to respond to the haka, they may as well stop doing it.

I thought the response of the Wales team before last Saturday's Test in Cardiff was great. I don't think they did anything wrong.

It was their silent way of doing the haka back to us, one way to stand up to it.

Wales face down All Blacks' Haka

If centre Ma'a Nonu says he was upset by it, he needs to pull his head in.

If that is what he thinks he is weak, he has exposed himself as fragile. By saying it upset him he has told everyone else that he is affected by it when someone responds to the haka.

Who knows what other teams might start doing if they think the All Blacks are going to be that precious about it?

Maybe England will try a Morris dance on Saturday! Or perhaps someone will run round the back of the All Blacks while they are doing it - what would happen then?

People remember Ireland captain Willie Anderson taking his team right into the faces of the All Blacks in 1989, and England hooker Richard Cockerill eyeballing Norm Hewitt in 1997. David Campese used to go off and mess around with a ball against us.

I haven't got a problem with any of that. It is whatever works for the opposition.

It worked for Wales, and there was nothing malicious about what they did at all. It was just a stand-up, that is what it is. Get over it.

It added a little bit of edge to the game and the anticipation that the Welsh were going to make a bit of a fist of it, even if it didn't really materialise.

It will be interesting to see how Riki Flutey handles it this Saturday, as a Maori facing the haka he has led in the past.

He is a good player but there will a few question marks over him because he is a New Zealander. He needs to have some answers, because the All Blacks will want to pick him to pieces.

It has been a long old tour for New Zealand and this is their last hurrah.

But it is a dangerous game for them. It is that old scenario of having one foot over the white line and one foot on the beach.

It is really up to the coaching staff and the senior players to make sure they finish things off in style. It certainly wouldn't be a happy changing room if they lose.

Three years ago, on the last 'grand slam' tour, they only just squeezed out England at Twickenham and I am expecting the English guys to rebound after their stuffing by the Springboks.

If the All Blacks click - and I don't think they have really hit their straps yet - this game could go south pretty quickly

On an emotional level, they must be in pieces after last week. In that situation you are not just worrying about yourself, you are worrying about the opposition too.

But they just have to make sure they do their own job, make their tackles and have nothing left in the tank at the end, like Munster did against the All Blacks.

The intensity of the Springboks' defence was really in their faces last week, and the England guys didn't handle it.

You can respond to a one-off hit but when you are getting pumped backwards in every tackle, it really sends a tingle down your spine.

The All Blacks' defence has been good as well, but I can see them conceding a try against England.

That said, I can't see them losing, although I don't think they will put 40 points on England.

If the All Blacks click - and I don't think they have really hit their straps yet - this game could go south pretty quickly.

Either England will stand up to be counted, or they will be in for a very long day.

Zinzan Brooke was talking to BBC Sport's Bryn Palmer

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see also
Carter eyes 'grand slam' send-off
27 Nov 08 |  Rugby Union
All black for England?
27 Nov 08 |  Rugby Union
Respect haka, Henry warns England
26 Nov 08 |  Rugby Union
Smith back in New Zealand line-up
25 Nov 08 |  Rugby Union
Wales 9-29 New Zealand
22 Nov 08 |  Welsh
Zinzan Brooke column
21 Nov 08 |  Rugby Union
Munster 16-18 New Zealand
18 Nov 08 |  Rugby Union
Ireland 3-22 New Zealand
15 Nov 08 |  Rugby Union
Zinzan Brooke column
12 Nov 08 |  Rugby Union
Scotland 6-32 New Zealand
08 Nov 08 |  Scottish
Zinzan Brooke column
05 Nov 08 |  Rugby Union

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