It is official. There is no acceptable response to the Haka.
The traditional Maori call to arms performed by New Zealand’s rugby players before every international match has become something of a bone of contention in recent years.
Some argue it should be banned. I don’t agree.
But we do seem to have reached a point where there is no satisfactory route through the cultural minefield. It does need to be resolved as the comments, analysis and accusations surrounding the Haka are becoming farcical.
Last Saturday, the Welsh response was to stand their ground in silence facing the Kiwi players.
It was a sign of respect and the decision to stand their ground and wait until the New Zealanders moved first was also a sign that the challenge had been accepted.
Welsh captain Ryan Jones also pointed out that by standing their ground, his players were reminding the Kiwis that they were guests in their country, their stadium, their pitch and in front of their fans.
It was one of the most rousing starts to an international at Cardiff I’ve seen in 30 years or more.
After the match several New Zealand players acknowledged the respect shown by their Welsh opponents.
Yet, barely a week on, both New Zealand coach Graham Henry and player Ma’a Nonu have accused the Welsh of showing disrespect and upsetting the Kiwis.
They added that they hoped England show more respect to the Haka ahead of the visit of the Kiwis on Saturday.
So, who is right?
Kiwi captain Richie McCaw and fellow player Kevan Mealamu who saw “no problem” with the Welsh response straight after the match?
Or, Henry and Nonu a few days before New Zealand take on England who now maintain the Welsh were wrong?
I have no desire to see the Haka removed from international rugby. It is a spectacle and it is right that New Zealand have the right to perform it before every match.
However, opponents have a right to respond too.
At the moment, it seems that opposing teams are damned if they do and damned if they don’t.
Give us a break guys, it is hard enough playing New Zealand without having to tread so carefully before, during and after the Haka.
We just want to enjoy the rugby.