I hate the haka

23 November 2013 08:22

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I hate the haka

In comments sure to stoke the All Black fires ahead of the final November international of 2013, the Leinster star raised questions over why the world champions were allowed to perform their Maori war dance before each Test.

While the 26-year-old insisted that his views were his own and not something he has discussed with his Ireland team-mates, they are unlikely to escape the notice of Steve Hansen's squad, who are 80 minutes away from becoming the first international team of the professional era to complete a calendar year with a perfect winning record.

"It's just a haka," Healy (pictured) said. "It's something I loved as a kid and I hate it now. People treat it in different ways but it's going to be there, so you have to deal with it."

Asked why he wasn't a fan of the traditional pre-match dance, the loosehead replied: "Because you have to stand against it. We don't play our two anthems in different countries so ... I don't know. They're entitled to (do it); it's part of their history. It's just how I treat it myself."

The Ireland team that faces down the world champions has been significantly boosted by Joe Schmidt being able to field Johnny Sexton, Brian O'Driscoll and Rob Kearney to start at Lansdowne Road after they came through training yesterday.

As expected, Conor Murray, Gordon D'Arcy and Dave Kearney come into the backline, while the pack remains unchanged from the side who lost to Australia last week.

There is plenty of change on the bench, however, where Declan Fitzpatrick returns ahead of Stephen Archer, Isaac Boss is promoted instead of Eoin Reddan, and Luke Fitzgerald returns ahead of Robbie Henshaw.

Ian Madigan retains his place among the substitutes despite the fact Paddy Jackson remains on standby if Sexton suffers any issues with his hamstring.

O'Driscoll will equal Ronan O'Gara's record of 128 caps for Ireland and, with D'Arcy, set the record for appearances by a centre partnership, overtaking All Blacks Ma'a Nonu and Conrad Smith by playing their 52nd Test side by side.

Hansen has made a number of changes to his team, with Steven Luatua replacing Liam Messam on the blindside, Luke Romano coming into the second-row and Cory Jane starting on the wing. The entire front-row has been changed as Wyatt Crockett and Charlie Faumuina join hooker Andrew Hore, who makes his 83rd and final Test appearance.

Home captain Paul O'Connell insisted that the players need to finish 2013 with a big performance against a country Ireland have never beaten in 27 attempts.

"I think we owe it to ourselves. We have an excellent group of players there who are very passionate about playing for Ireland and are very focused on being successful with Ireland," he said.

"You know, the last few years haven't produced the kind of form or the kind of performances we would have liked.

"Monday to Friday, we're doing really well. Training has gone excellently well, we've been incredibly focused and there is an incredible amount of work being done, we're just not producing it on the Saturday – or the Sunday as it is this week.

"We just need to play to the ability that's in this team, play to the intensity that's in this team, the skill level that's in this team and then we can feel happy.

"The last two weeks, we have walked away from both the games feeling very uneasy ... it's frustrating when you see the talent that's there, the passion that's there and how much guys want to be successful.

"It's about producing on the big day and hopefully we can do it this weekend and maybe then we can repay the coaches for their good work...

"The last two weeks have certainly been disappointing across the board. First and foremost the players want to give their best and we'll go from there."

Source: independent.ie

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