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Page last updated at 12:45 GMT, Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Respect haka, Henry warns England

Venue: Twickenham Date: Saturday, 29 November Kick-off: 1430 GMT Coverage: Live on Sky Sports and BBC Radio 5 Live. Highlights on BBC Three (Saturday, 1910 GMT) and BBC Two (Sunday, 1510 GMT), BBC Red Button and BBC Sport website. Live text commentary on BBC Sport website


Wales face down All Blacks' Haka

New Zealand coach Graham Henry has urged England to respect the haka when the teams meet on Saturday in the final game of the All Blacks' tour.

Last week Wales' response was to stand still and stare out their opponents, which upset some New Zealand players.

"They thought that was the best way to respond, I just wanted to know when the game was going to start," said Henry.

"I hope there's no copycat situation. It was interesting at the time but it's time to move on and be sensible."

It took the intervention of New Zealand captain Richie McCaw to end the stand-off in Cardiff and the All Blacks went on to win the game 29-9, having trailed 9-6 at the break.

They will be a formidable team to beat - but on our day I believe we can beat them

Michael Lipman on NZ
Centre Ma'a Nonu was one of those who did not appreciate Wales's response, and has warned England against trying to do anything similar.

"What the Welsh did wound us up. They were probably told by (Wales coach) Warren Gatland to stand there and wait until we leave," he said.

"But it was really hard. The haka is a war dance. If you're going to stand there like that then in the past people would have charged, but it's a rugby match and you can't do that.

"People back home will have been hurt by what they decided to do. Standing in the way like they did is asking for a fight.

"My blood pressure was pretty high but then I regained my composure. I was a bit upset about it.

"If England want to do that they can - but they'll probably get the same response."

One person who is all too aware of the symbolic importance of the haka is England centre Riki Flutey.

The Wasps centre is one of two New Zealand-born players in the England squad, along with replacement hooker Dylan Hartley.

Flutey has led the haka when he played for the New Zealand Maori, but will be confronted with the sight of it coming from a team including former Wellington Hurricanes colleagues such as Nonu, Conrad Smith and Rodney So'oialo.

"At school level you come up against hakas every week and I suppose seeing my old team-mates perform the haka in front of me will be quite special," he said.

"I'm really looking forward to seeing the passion and everything about the haka.

"With my experience, the moment the team disrespects it or turns its back to it. that just lifts the team that are doing the haka up hugely.

"I think going into this game that England have always respected the haka and can stand tall and proud facing it."

Recalled flanker Michael Lipman, who grew up in New South Wales and represented Australia at age-group level, insists he will not be overawed by the prospect of facing the All Blacks.

"I am not intimidated by anyone," he said. "I think New Zealand deserve the respect they have built up. A lot of teams can be beaten before even going out on the field. I am not having any of that.

"You have to play New Zealand at their own game, get your defence sorted and not be in the slightest bit intimidated by the black jersey.

"If you sit back and wait for them to do something and then react, you will lose every time. If you dictate the tempo and set the standards, you are more than in with a chance.

"They will be a formidable team to beat - but on our day I believe we can beat them."

And the Bath forward plans to help former club-mate and England captain Steve Borthwick by providing another on-field leader after last week's 42-6 thrashing by South Africa at Twickenham.

"You need voices, you need people to direct, work out what is going wrong and put things right on the spot. I am one of the guys that can do that.

"I am not sure how well we coped with South Africa's rush defence. We knew they were coming and we didn't adapt to it the way we wanted.

"That is the issue of dealing with things right there and then on the field. It was a little bit too quiet and we let it happen rather than acting upon it.

"I played with Steve for a long time at Bath. We know each other very well and I will look to help him every way I can and make his job a lot easier."

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see also
Smith back in New Zealand line-up
25 Nov 08 |  Rugby Union
Cipriani axed from England team
25 Nov 08 |  English
Jeremy Guscott column
24 Nov 08 |  Rugby Union
Wales 9-29 New Zealand
22 Nov 08 |  Welsh
England 6-42 South Africa
22 Nov 08 |  English
Ireland 3-22 New Zealand
15 Nov 08 |  Rugby Union
England 14-28 Australia
15 Nov 08 |  English
Gatland hints at Haka response
13 Nov 08 |  Rugby Union
Scotland 6-32 New Zealand
08 Nov 08 |  Scottish
England 39-13 Pacific Islanders
08 Nov 08 |  English

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