Super Rugby Aupiki: Black Ferns Ruby Tui, Arihiana Marino-Tauhinu boycott Chiefs Manawa haka against Blues

Black Ferns stars Ruby Tui and Arihiana Marino-Tauhinu appear to have boycotted their Chiefs Manawa team haka before last week's Super Rugby Aupiki clash with the Blues.

Newshub has asked the Chiefs organisation for an explanation of the gesture, which adds to two weeks of controversy over the Hurricanes Poua pre-match "redneck government" protest against the Chiefs seven days earlier.

Marin-Tauhinu often leads the Manawa haka and has also done so for the national team.

Ruby Tui and Arihiana Marin0-Tauhinu step aside from the Chiefs Manawa haka.
Ruby Tui and Arihiana Marin0-Tauhinu step aside from the Chiefs Manawa haka. Photo credit: Sky Sport

The Chiefs have provided a statement, but have refused to make players and coach available for questions over the incident.

"The haka is a form of self expression and we saw that last weekend," they said. "Te Ao Māori is central to who we are, and Chiefs support our players on and off field.

 "It has been a difficult time for women's rugby and Aupiki players over the past couple of weeks. We saw our players haka and stand for what they believe in, and we support their right to do so. 

"At the Chiefs Rugby Club, we have encouraged open conversations and respected a diversity of views to gain a greater understanding and appreciation of each other. This has brought us closer together. 

"We are now moving on and focussing on bringing our best to the field for the remainder of the Super Rugby Aupiki season."

Chief chairman Bill Osborne told Stuff: "The Chiefs Rugby Club takes a one team approach to everything we do in the club.

"The Chiefs Manawa karanga prior to the haka spoke of the importance of Te Ao Māori. Te Ao Māori principles are integrated in our club’s strategy and an important part of our Chiefs culture.

"The karanga, haka and waiata are important rituals for our organisation. Our focus is on supporting our players, preparing and winning the Aupiki and Super Rugby Pacific competitions."

Chiefs Manawa are currently unbeaten after two rounds of Super Rugby Aupiki and face winless champions Matatū in a rematch of last year's final on Saturday.