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England v New Zealand
Henry calls for respect
PA Sport
November 26, 2008

Graham Henry has urged England to respect the Haka on Saturday - with New Zealand centre Ma'a Nonu warning failure to do so would be ill-advised.

Wales' response to the Haka at the Millennium Stadium last weekend riled the All Blacks, who were locked in a stand-off as the teams eye-balled each other for at least a minute. It took the intervention of All Blacks skipper Richie McCaw to end the confrontation and the Tri-Nations champions took revenge by crushing Wales 29-9.

Henry hopes the incident remains unique and does not want to see England issue a similar challenge at Twickenham. "The Welsh thought that was the best way to respond, I just wanted to know when the game was going to start," said New Zealand's head coach.

"It took someone with common sense, the All Blacks captain, to get things going. We don't need that every week. I hope a copycat situation doesn't occur. We've been there, it was interesting at the time but it's time to move on and be more sensible."

Explosive All Black centre Nonu found the Welsh response provocative and claimed it will have drawn an angry reaction back in New Zealand. And the 26-year-old, Henry's first choice for the number 12 jersey, has reminded England of how adopting a similar tactic when facing the Haka could backfire.

"What the Welsh did wound us up. They were probably told by (Wales coach) Warren Gatland to stand there and wait until we leave," he said. "But it was really hard. The Haka is a war dance.

"If you're going to stand there like that then in the past people would have charged, but it's a rugby match and you can't do that. People back home will have been hurt by what they decided to do. Standing in the way like they did is asking for a fight.

"My blood pressure was pretty high but then I regained my composure. I was a bit upset about it. If I was facing the Haka I'd respect it. The Haka is the Haka, after that it's game time.

"If England want to do that they can - but they'll probably get the same response."

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