Friday, June 18, 2010

Haka could return
Liam Napier in Dunedin

All Blacks captain Richie McCaw has hinted his men will honour Carisbrook's final Test by firing up with the Kapo o Pango Haka on Saturday.
The controversial Haka was first launched in 2005 by Tana Umaga at the same ground against the Springboks, but it is reserved for 'special occasions'.

Since then, the throat-slitting action was toned down and it has made fleeting appearances.

McCaw said the All Blacks had not shelved alternatives to the traditional 'Ka mate' but in fact had 'been working on it' and could wheel it out against Wales this weekend.

"The guys all realise this is the last time we'll get to play here. [They know] the significance and the history. We've mentioned that," McCaw said at the captains run on Friday.

At Cardiff two years ago, fans witnessed a staunch standoff between the Welsh and the All Blacks following the pre-game war dance. McCaw was not opposed to a similar occurrence in Dunedin as it 'upped the ante from the word go'.

McCaw backed up comments from the Welsh camp that it would attack the All Blacks, believing Wales was the best attacking side of the Home Nations (England, Ireland and Scotland).

"It's up to us to limit their opportunities and create our own. Both teams intend to play running rugby," he said.

The Oamaru-born 29-year-old also saw common qualities between New Zealand and the home of the Red Dragons.

"Their excitement and following of rugby is very similar to Kiwis," McCaw said. "They always play with a lot of passion. It's going to be a physical challenge. I've enjoyed the matches we've had and they've never been easy. The last couple of years have been tight games."

Last year the men in black narrowly escaped 19-12 in Cardiff.
Although, it did appear the All Blacks captain knew little about his opponent Gavin Thomas.

"He's a young guy with some ability and excitement," McCaw said of the Dragons 32-year-old flanker who was returning to the national side for the first time since touring Australia in 2007.
The All Blacks were determined not to let in any 'soft tries' like the four they conceded against Ireland last week, McCaw said

He then joked that a fire alarm at his team's Southern Cross Hotel on Friday morning - that led to an evacuation - was caused by one of the boys burning their toast, but it had not disrupted the preparations.

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