Wallabies coach Dave Rennie has set the stage for another explosive Bledisloe Cup Test, firing back at alleged accusations from Rieko Ioane that the Australians were “disrespecting” the All Blacks haka.
Both the Wallabies and Wallaroos have decided to form a boomerang shape while staring down the traditional Maori challenge before Tests and the Wallabies also advanced on the haka before last week’s tumultuous clash in Melbourne (watch the video above).
After unveiling his team for Saturday’s return match in Auckland, Rennie revealed that Mathieu Raynal and Darcy Swain weren’t the only flashpoints from New Zealand’s 39-37 win at Marvel Stadium.
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“There’s a lot of motivating points in there,” Rennie told reporters on Thursday.
“I know Rieko Ioane had a lot to say to our boys after the final try, mouthing off at Folau Fainga’a about disrespecting the haka, 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 responding with a haka.
“So our response was in the boomerang shape and to move forward, and by throwing down a challenge we’re accepting it. There’s a fair bit of banter that goes on on the field, and it just adds to the theatre I think.”
Rennie explains boomerang haka response
Rennie elaborated on the background to the boomerang response in an interview with Rugby Heaven, to be aired in full on Stan Sport on Thursday night.
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Rennie was then asked if Ioane’s apparent actions fell in the banter or disrespect category.
“It’s standard,” the Kiwi coach replied, before confirming the boomerang response would continue at New Zealand’s Eden Park fortress, where the Wallabies have not beaten the All Blacks since 1986.
“No, I mean, that’s our reply, it’s how we respond. I was just a bit surprised that he thinks it’s disrespectful. That there’s an expectation that we just stand there and they throw a challenge at us and we do nothing.
Sean Maloney and Andrew Mehrtens are joined by Morgan Turinui and Bernard Foley to discuss the highly controversial Bledisloe Cup clash from Melbourne
“Just take it. We think it’s a very respectful way of responding, and it’s unique to us because of the boomerang shape, so we won’t be stopping that.”
Rennie also admitted that Wallabies lock Swain “misfired” in his attempt to clean out Quinn Tupaea in Melbourne.
Tupaea is out for three months with a knee injury while Swain has copped a six week ban for his actions.
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However, Rennie is upset that All Blacks prop Fletcher Newell got away with what he viewed as a similar incident in the same match.
The Wallabies highlighted that moment in their defence of Swain on Wednesday night.
“Sam Whitelock cleaned out in similar fashion to Darcy, but did it accurately and effectively, and the other one we used was Fletcher Newell’s where… very similarly to Darcy and he’s landed on Scott Sio’s leg and he’s done a hammy based on that,” Rennie said.
“In the end, you can’t use it as a defence but we’re just highlighting the fact that we’ve got one incident that’s been picked up, punished on field and off field, and another example that’s been glossed over…
“The injuries that we just talked about to Quinn Tupaea and Scott Sio were disappointing, but just part of the game and like I say Darcy has been punished accordingly.”
Rennie said Swain had reached out to Tupaea after the game.
“I hear they’re (All Blacks) fuming. We’re not that excited about Fletcher Newell’s cleanout on Scott Sio. He’s going to be out for three weeks and he didn’t even get cited or carded during the game. As part of our defence we used that,” Rennie said.
“They mentioned he should have been cited as well. We’re not happy and neither is Darcy. He’s not happy with the action or the result. But it’s not malicious.
“He’s been punished and six weeks is a hefty punishment I reckon. Fletcher Newell gets to live another day.”
ALL BLACKS (15-1): Beauden Barrett, Will Jordan, Rieko Ioane, Jordie Barrett, Caleb Clarke, Richie Mo’unga, Aaron Smith, Ardie Savea, Dalton Papali’i, Akira Ioane, Sam Whitelock (c), Brodie Retallick, Tyrel Lomax, Codie Taylor, Ethan de Groot
Reserves: Samisoni Taukei’aho, Ofa Tu’ungafasi, Nepo Laulala, Tupou Vaa’i, Hoskins Sotutu, Finlay Christie, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Sevu Reece
WALLABIES (15-1): Andrew Kellaway, Tom Wright, Len Ikitau, Lalakai Foketi, Marika Koroibete, Bernard Foley, Jake Gordon, Harry Wilson, Pete Samu, Rob Valetini, Cadeyrn Neville, Jed Holloway, Allan Alaalatoa, Dave Porecki, James Slipper (c)
Reserves: Folau Fainga’a, Angus Bell, Pone Fa’amausili, Nick Frost, Fraser McReight, Nic White, Reece Hodge, Jordan Petaia
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