England fans urged to drown out ‘sterile’ Haka at Twickenham

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Richard Cockerill has urged Twickenham to drown out the Haka when England collide with New Zealand in Saturday’s main event of the autumn.

Cockerill famously confronted All Blacks hooker Norm Hewitt during the Maori war dance in 1997 but England’s forwards coach believes teams are now too deferential towards a ritual he believes has become “sterile”.

When the rivals last met in the semi-finals of the 2019 World Cup, Eddie Jones’ men responded with a V-shape formation that had captain Owen Farrell at its apex – and Cockerill would relish similar theatrics in the penultimate assignment of the autumn.

“It’s a home game and we want a partisan crowd who are on our side. If the fans can drown out the noise of New Zealand doing the Haka then let’s bring it on,” the former Leicester hooker said.

“Is it a challenge or not a challenge? We’ll respect it how we want to respect it. It’s a psychological advantage for them and we will deal with it how we feel is right.

“I have no regrets over what I did and I think it’s a sign of respect for the Maori culture. It’s great theatre and it will be part of a big day.

“I think the Haka has become a little bit sterile and too much is made of it when people do different things towards it. That’s overplayed.

“New Zealand are allowed to do what they want to do and the opposition should be allowed to do what they want to do.”