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Sunday, September 19, 2010

When satire is just too close to the truth

The fallout from the IRB's decision to fine the Australian women's team who dared to come with 20m of the Black Ferns while they were performing their haka during the World Cup last month continues. Various writers have been complaining about the advantage that all this gives to New Zealand teams - maybe the time has come to end the haka?

The IRB's chief executive Mike Miller has responded by saying that it should continue as it is "a traditional part of the game. It would be a shame if people said: 'Let's do away with it' or felt the need to do some response that took away from the dignity and power of it."

However, so confused have the IRB's "rules" become about how opposition teams should behave that a "joke" news item from the satirical East Terrace website, published on Friday, was yesterday taken as real IRB advice by New Zealand television.

In their defence its not hard to see why - see if you can spot the difference between the real IRB advice on what teams can do when faced by the haka, and the "fake".
Quote 1: "Firstly, don't march within ten metres. Secondly, please don't turn your back on the Haka, this is must unsporting. We recommend not staring too aggressively either, we don't want any un-called for confrontation. Please don't do any kind of warm up or physical activity either, this is not called for at all and will cause offence."
Quote 2: "If [opposition teams] want to develop something - not a response, not a war dance, a traditional sporting or cultural way of engendering that team spirit for a match - great. They should be able to and we should create the space to do it."
Tricky isn't it? The first seems a bit unhelpful - what one earth can teams do? On other hand, the second is pretty bizarre too - could the IRB really be suggesting that teams develop their own piece of street theatre? A Morris Dance by England maybe, a bit of Riverdance by the Irish? Maybe France could wheel on a model guillotine? 

Follow the links above to work out the answer...

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