World media call France haka fine 'final insult'

23:54, Oct 25 2011
NZ v France
All Blacks coach Graham Henry pregame.
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All Black captain Richie McCaw warming up.
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A young All Blacks' fan at Eden Park.
RWC: New Zealand v France
Ma'a Nonu warming up.
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The cup is shown.
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The French stand resolute before the All Blacks haka.
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The French stand resolute before the All Blacks haka.
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Imanol Harinordoquy of France is tackled by Ma'a Nonu and Richie McCaw of the All Blacks.
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French centre Aurelien Rougerie tackled by All Black blindside flanker Jerome Kaino.
RWC: New Zealand v France
Richie McCaw in action.
RWC: New Zealand v France
French centre Aurelien Rougerie in action.
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French left wing Alexis Palisson isn tackled by All Black captain Richie McCaw.
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Tony Woodcock scores the opening try.
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All Black prop Tony Woodcock celebrates with his teammates after scoring the first try of the match.
RWC: New Zealand v France
Tony Woodcock scores the opening try.
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All Black left wing Richard Kahui hits the French defence.
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All Black fullback Israel Dagg in action.
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All Black second-five Ma'a Nonu is tackled by French centre Aurelien Rougerie.
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All Black left wing Richard Kahui and French right wing Vincent Clerc collide in the air.
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All Black first-five Aaron Cruden lies injured.
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French replacement Francois Trinh-Duc is tackled by All Black halfback Piri Weepu.
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Players from both sides watch a drop goal attempt.
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Action during the final.
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All Black Richie McCaw attempts to block a French kick.
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All Black second-five Ma'a Nonu taking on the French defence.
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French captain Thierry Dusautoir scores.
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All Black fullback Israel Dagg runs the ball upfield.
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All Black replacement Stephen Donald in action.
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The All Blacks.
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All Black lock Brad Thorn after New Zealand's narrow win against France.
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The players postgame.
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All Black prop Tony Woodcock celebrates.
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The All Blacks celebrate.
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The All Blacks celebrate.
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The All Blacks celebrate.
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The All Blacks celebrate at Eden Park.
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The All Blacks celebrate.
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Captain Richie McCaw of the All Blacks lifts the Webb Ellis Cup.
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Captain Richie McCaw of the All Blacks lifts the Webb Ellis Cup.
NZ v France
Captain Richie McCaw of the All Blacks lifts the Webb Ellis Cup.
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All Blacks captain Richie McCaw holds the Webb Ellis Cup aloft.
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Captain Richie McCaw of the All Blacks lifts the Webb Ellis Cup during the Rugby World Cup final.
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The All Blacks celebrate.
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All Black halfback Piri Weepu celebrates the All Blacks win with his child.
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Richie McCaw of the All Blacks performs a haka with his teammates as they celebrate.
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All Black fullback Israel Dagg & Zac Guilford celebrate after the final whistle.
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Richie McCaw of the All Blacks hugs Graham Henry, coach of the All Blacks.

Rugby experts have condemned the IRB's decision to fine France $4900 for advancing toward the All Blacks' haka at the World Cup final, calling it ''pedantic'' and the ''final insult''.

It was confirmed yesterday that the International Rugby Board (IRB) had fined France because they breached a regulation on how the haka should be faced, introduced after previous confrontations.

The fine came despite IRB chairman Bernard Lapasset acknowledging the wildly popular response to the challenge was ''not an aggressive response'', and the All Blacks saying France should not be fined.

All Blacks haka
ADVANCING: Captain Thierry Dusautoir (No 6) leads France forward in V-formation to face the All Blacks' Kapa o Pango haka before the Rugby World Cup final.

Former All Black and World Cup winner Alan ''AJ'' Whetton said it was another sign of the IRB getting ''a wee bit too pedantic'' about its role in international rugby.

''There's something called protocol but sometimes there's also something called common sense,'' he said. ''What bearing did it have on the game? Absolutely nothing. It was bloody irrelevant. There was no harm done in my point of view and I thought it added a bit of spice, really.''

Barney Ronay, writing in Britain's Guardian newspaper said: ''It seems that the haka, the world's most famous sporting war dance, is still an unapproachably hot potato: albeit the most tediously touchy of hot potatoes, a potato warmed by its own portable fug of cultural confrontationalism.''

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Ronay said even the New Zealand team manager, Darren Shand, was among those who had expressed unease about the fine.

''But still the International Rugby Board seems intent on putting about the idea that the only appropriate response is to stand looking vaguely interested, like bum-bagged tourists on a stroll around the Maori museum rugby experience.

''Getting rid of the haka isn't an option. Nobody wants that. But getting rid of the po-faced and rather precious ringfencing of its sole right to offer a pre-match challenge can only be a good thing. Why not just take the brakes off and offer the Maori war dance the ultimate compliment of taking it at face value, as a challenge that is there to be met in whatever way its opponents can muster.

''Fining France simply for walking along in a line, while opposite them their opponents are miming acts of terrible corporeal violence, just makes the whole spectacle look a little silly,'' Ronay said.

Britain's The Daily Mail dubbed the fine the ''final insult'' while in France the newspapers L'Equipe and the Le Monde both highlighted captain Thierry Dusautoir's reasoning for the V-shaped advance.

"It was a great moment and a moment we will remember all our lives," Dusautoir said after the match.

- Stuff and Sydney Morning Herald