The Haka is losing its charm
I used to like the Haka. But it's no longer a mark of respect, nor some ancient challenge; it's become a rather silly one-way exercise in threatening behaviour.
And they really expect teams to just stand and watch?
It was so good when Willie Anderson, the Irish legend, got far too close for comfort when the Irish faced the All Blacks.
I like New Zealanders, some of the best people I have met hail from there.
They put the first (or maybe second) man on top of Mount Everest, one of my heroes was the runner John Walker and they say that if you want a fence built in the UK you get a contractor, but in New Zealand you get a few mates and build it yourselves.
Their rugby is brilliant at times.
But I was watching the Under-20 All Blacks perform their Haka in the lead up to their match with South Africa and it was pathetic.
It started off as the usual Haka, after a somewhat longer than necessary introduction before the Kamate bit, but the last motion was a threatening, and slow, slitting of the throat.
I wanted to throw things at the TV.
New Zealanders want their Haka to be treated with respect. Do they honestly believe that anyone in the world should respect a team which ends its - until then - tolerated and sometimes respected challenge with a throat-slitting demonstration.
Respect goes both ways. How stupid do the New Zealand rugby authorities believe their opponents to be?
It has really surprised me that they allowed the Under-20's to go with their Haka.
It's such embarrassing nonsense with earnest, gleeful, and plainly naïve young men doing their best to overact as if auditioning for supporting roles as pirates on Captain Hook's ship: Captain Cook would have been embarrassed.
Ok, so they will argue that it is "tradition".
Even supposing that most sporting traditions are barely 100 years old at most, when humankind had populated most ice-free parts of the world some 12,000 years ago, this is not tradition.
It's the evolution of what was a rather lame pre-match ritual that existed in my day and has evolved into a one-way wind up. In the 1980s some All Blacks didn't even know the words.
Rugby is a psychological game: players cool down after the anthems and then have to get themselves up for kick off, and, lo and behold, just before kick off one team gets to gather, shout a lot, slap thighs and threaten the other team.
I don't mind a Haka that is about respect.
But, firstly with the introduction of the new one a few years ago which they then ditched, and now with the Under-20's having attended too many drama classes, it shows no respect.
And respect is a fundamental part of the game, while expecting a team to watch you threaten them smacks of a lack of respect.
Plus, you can't invent tradition; unless I am misunderstanding a fundamental aspect of tourism.
Are New Zealanders really proud of this?