These two nations are two of the best rugby teams in the world, sharing the past three World Cups between them, New Zealand winning in 2015 and 2011 and South Africa in 2007. They were in the same group this year and played each other early on in the group-qualifying matches. The game highlights below are worth watching for three reasons:
- The high quality of play.
- The haka by the New Zealand team at the beginning of every game.
The haka is a type of ancient Māori war dance traditionally used on the battlefield, as well as when groups came together in peace. Haka are a fierce display of a tribe’s pride, strength and unity. Actions include violent foot-stamping, tongue protrusions and rhythmic body slapping to accompany a loud chant.
As you can see, it is a highly aggressive performance, designed to intimidate the opponents and gain a psychological advantage even before the game begins.
- You get to see a third form of scoring in addition to the try and penalty goal that I discussed in an earlier post and that is the drop kick goal that scores three points. This is where, while play is going on, the ball carrier drops the ball and just after it bounces off the ground, he kicks it and it goes between the uprights. A drop kick goal is relatively rare. It is not easy to pull off since you have little time and space to aim carefully given the fast pace of the game and that defenders are bearing down on you. This happens at the 14:20 mark and you can see it more clearly in the slow motion replay.