'Disrespectful': Irish fans' Haka response divides rugby world

Irish fans have been accused of disrespecting the All Blacks after singing over the top of the Haka at the Rugby World Cup.

The Irish crashed out of the tournament in Japan after being thoroughly outplayed by the reigning World Cup champions.

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However, it was a pre-game moment from the Irish fans that has dominated the wash up to the match and divided opinion in the rugby world.

As the crowd inside Tokyo Stadium came to a hush to marvel at the ferocious pre-game ritual that is the All Blacks' Haka, something unexpected happened instead.

Singing Irish fans drowned out the Haka inside the Tokyo stadium. Pic: Getty

The noise of Irish fans belting out the traditional folk song The Fields Of Athenry began drowning out the Kapo o pango war cry being led by Kiwi star TJ Perenara.

The Haka has been the subject of heated discussion in rugby circles for some time, with many critics arguing that by making opposition teams observe the war cry, it gives New Zealand an unfair psychological advantage.

However, others argue that because it is such an important tradition for the All Blacks, it should be respected as such.


Needless to say, the fact that Irish fans essentially hijacked the atmosphere inside the stadium proved a bone of contention for viewers.

The Irish singing only seemed to fire an All Blacks side up that dominated the contest from the outset.

New Zealand pummelled a flat Ireland 46-14 in Saturday's last-eight clash in Tokyo to set up a semi-final showdown against England.

The three-times champions had lost two of their last three matches against the Irish but Saturday's performance better reflected the All Black's overall record against the men in green which now stands at 29 wins to two defeats, with one draw.

Kiwis blow Irish away in dominant first half

After a tight opening 10 minutes, New Zealand flexed their peerless rugby muscles after which the result was never in doubt.

The All Blacks ended with seven tries, the first two from scrum-half Aaron Smith.

Certainly England will provide a better test for the holders, having earlier thrashed Australia 40-16 in the first quarter-final in Oita.

The All Blacks had not played for almost two weeks since their 71-9 victory over Namibia at the same ground after tournament organisers cancelled their final pool game against Italy due to Typhoon Hagibis.

They also had not been really challenged since their tournament opener against South Africa four weeks ago and fans were concerned they could be underprepared for the intensity of a World Cup knockout match.

Steve Hansen's side allayed those fears with a blistering and bruising performance where they constantly drove Ireland back at the breakdown and in the tackle and never allowed them to get their close-running game going.

New Zealand were simply too good for Ireland. Pic: Getty

They also forced the Irish into numerous handling errors, particularly in contact inside their own half, destroying their momentum.

After scrum-half Smith scored his first try in the 14th minute following a sustained build-up, the All Blacks seized on two Johnny Sexton errors to put the game beyond doubt before half-time.

The Irish fly-half failed to find touch for an attacking lineout, with Richie Mo'unga brilliantly keeping the ball in play and the All Blacks then cleared to Ireland's half when three minutes later, Smith grabbed his second from close range.

Sexton then dropped the ball on halfway in a tackle and Mo'unga kicked it ahead with Beauden Barrett winning the race to give the All Blacks a 22-0 lead they held to halftime despite defending for most of the last 10 minutes of the first period.

The All Blacks refused to take their foot off the gas in the second half, keeping Ireland pinned inside their own territory and controlling possession with hooker Codie Taylor, replacement flanker Matt Todd, winger George Bridge and replacement Jordie Barrett crossing.

Robbie Henshaw gave his side a face-saving try moments after he squandered a gilt-edged opportunity while referee Nigel Owens also awarded them a penalty try and sinbinned Todd for a professional foul.

With AAP