Rennie reveals haka 'disrespect' sledge

·3-min read

Wallabies coach Dave Rennie has lit the fuse ahead of the Rugby Championship finale, saying World Rugby conceded a crunch time-wasting call in the opening Bledisloe Cup loss was wrong.

In a now infamous decision, referee Mathieu Raynal pinged Bernard Foley for timewasting in the dying stages of Australia's 39-37 loss in Melbourne.

The decision devastated Wallabies fans, divided the sport and sparked a war of words between Rennie and All Blacks coach Ian Foster, who called it "very clear cut".

Rennie said a 'please explain' issued to World Rugby after the Test produced a concession the Wallabies playmaker was harshly treated.

"They agreed with our concerns," Rennie said.

While Nic White gave voice to the Wallabies' heartache at the time, telling Raynal "mate, that just cost us the Rugby Championship", Rennie said it was on his players to now turn the page.

"We seeked (sic) a bit of clarity. We've got that. It's not going to help us win on the weekend," he said.

"We've decided to take it on the chin and move on."

The Wellingtonian Wallabies coach was in a defiant mood on Thursday as he unveiled the team to take on the All Blacks on Saturday at Eden Park.

As well as revealing the World Rugby mea culpa, he also called out All Blacks star Reiko Ioane for trash-talking his players in the aftermath of the loss.

"Rieko Ioane had a lot to say to our boys after the final try, mouthing off at Folau Fainga'a around disrespecting the haka," Rennie said.

"Which is a bit odd because as New Zealanders would know, when a team does a haka you respond with a haka.

"We don't have the luxury of having a haka so our response is (to get) in the boomerang shape and to move forward. They've thrown down a challenge and we're accepting it."

Rennie said the Wallabies would continue to confront the haka, a Maori custom traditionally performed when two tribes met.

"Is the expectation that we just stand there, they throw a challenge at us and we do nothing? Just take it?" he asked.

"We think it's a very respectful way of responding, and it's unique to us because of the boomerang shape. We won't be stopping that."

The fighting words will only add to the explosive atmosphere expected at a sold-out Eden Park on Saturday night.

The All Blacks were already fuming at Wallaby lock Darcy Swain's cleanout of Quinn Tupaea, which ruptured a ligament in the All Black's left knee and ended his season.

New Zealand have plenty of motivation too, hoping to prolong a 36-year unbeaten streak over Australia at their house of pain and claim a Rugby Championship.

Rennie has given Foley another shot as playmaker on Saturday night after a powerhouse display in Melbourne.

"I thought it was a hell of a performance for a guy who hadn't played internationally in three years and hadn't had a game of footy for three months," Rennie said.

The Wallabies have made two changes, with fit-again lock Cadeyrn Neville and No.8 Harry Wilson replacing injured pair Matt Philip (sternum) and Rob Leota (achilles) in the run-on side.

Neville and Wilson come into the forward line, with Matt Philip and Rob Leota (achilles) dropping out due to injury, and Rob Valentini moving to blindside flanker.

WALLABIES TEAM: Andrew Kellaway, Tom Wright, Len Ikitau, Lalakai Foketi, Marika Koroibete, Bernard Foley, Jake Gordon, Harry Wilson, Pete Samu, Rob Valentini, Cadeyrn Neville, Jed Holloway, Allan Alaalatoa, David Porecki, James Slipper (c). Reserves: Folau Fainga'a, Angus Bell, Pone Fa'amausili, Nick Frost, Fraser McReight, Nic White, Reece Hodge, Jordan Petaia.