Rugby World Cup 2019: All Black Codie Taylor defends haka for Ireland quarter-final

All Blacks hooker Codie Taylor has defended the haka, after recent criticism of the pre-match tradition during the Rugby World Cup. 

Last month, English football legend and TV personality Gary Lineker said it "must be so hard not to laugh at this if you're the opposition", while Irish rugby writer Ewan MacKenna believes the cultural "war dance" has been commercialised and exploited, and no longer has a place on the rugby field. 

Rugby World Cup 2019: All Black Codie Taylor defends haka for Ireland quarter-final
Rugby World Cup 2019: All Black Codie Taylor defends haka for Ireland quarter-final

But Taylor, who is of Māori heritage, explained to Newshub what the haka means to him and the team.

"It seems to be a popular article at the World Cup," Taylor laughed. "As a Māori, the haka is about the team showing that we're connected. 

"When we perform it, it's not so much about the opposition, but you go hard, because you respect the team in front of you.

"It shows that we're here to perform and, as a nation, we also connect it back to them and grounding ourselves to the earth that we're standing on, when we're away from home." 

Taylor will start for the All Blacks quarter-final against Ireland on Saturday night. 

Essential Guide to 2019 Rugby World Cup

Everything you need to know about rugby and the World Cup...

The ninth Rugby World Cup kicks off on September 20 in Japan - the first time it has been hosted in Asia.

Join us at 11:15pm Saturday for live updates of the All Blacks v Ireland Rugby World Cup quarter-final.

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