SPRINGBOK HARDMAN Schalk Burger is distancing himself from coach Peter de Villiers’ controversial comments about the haka “losing its intensity” in world rugby.
“For me, about the World Cup especially, there is too many haka around. It is unique to me, and it is losing its intensity – but that is only me,” said de Villiers after a visit to Opotaka, the birthplace of the Ka Mate haka.
However, Burger is at odds with those and other comments about the haka being “bastardised” by sport.
“I think the haka is a fantastic tradition,” Burger told Rugby News.
Maori leader Peter Love backed up de Villiers’ criticism of the haka in sport, telling Fairfax NZ the haka had been “hijacked by rugby people” for commercial purposes.
Burger says he would hate to see the Pacific Island nations stop performing their hakas before tests.
“As a young boy from South Africa, you want to face the All Blacks and you want to see the haka. It’s a special tradition, it’s something unique to those teams, and it’s a fantastic part of rugby.”
The 64-test veteran is looking forward to facing another haka when the Boks meet Manu Samoa in their final Pool D game at North Harbour Stadium tomorrow night.
“They’re a tough side. They ran Wales very close and obviously Samoa are very physical and they are well structured at the moment.
“Every [World Cup] year there is a South Sea Islander that really causes some major upsets, and this year seems to be Samoa’s chance.”
Burger says the key to beating the Samoans will come down to who gains breakdown dominance.
“The breakdown’s key. If you can speed up the breakdown ball you tend to make metres easily.
“They’ve got huge individual, one-on-one tacklers – guys that can make big hits. If we can speed up play, force them to be in their half a bit, we can maybe build some pressure.”« Back to Archives
This weekend throws up another set of games which could go either way.
Which player was unlucky not to make the Wallabies’ preliminary squad for the British and Irish Lions series?