Rugby Championship: Wallabies boss Dave Rennie fires back at Rieko Ioane over ‘disrespecting the haka’

Colin Newboult

Dave Rennie has taken aim at Rieko Ioane after the All Blacks centre said Australia’s players ‘disrespected the haka’ during their previous clash.

While New Zealand were laying down the challenge ahead of the encounter in Melbourne, the Wallabies responded by lining up in a boomerang shape and gradually moving forward.

However, Ioane was unhappy with the hosts’ actions, according to Rennie, with the head coach believing that the All Blacks player’s attitude was “a bit odd.”

Adds to the theatre

“I know Rieko Ioane had a lot to say to our boys after the final try, mouthing off at Folau Fainga’a about disrespecting the haka,” he told reporters.

“Which is a bit odd because as New Zealanders would know, when a team does a haka you respond with a haka; we don’t have the luxury of responding with a haka.

“So our response was in the boomerang shape and to move forward, and by throwing down a challenge we’re accepting it.

“There’s a fair bit of banter that goes on the field, and it just adds to the theatre I think.”

Unperturbed by Ioane, Rennie insisted that the Wallabies would do it again.

“No, I mean, that’s our reply, it’s how we respond,” he added. “I was just a bit surprised that he thinks it’s disrespectful.

“That there’s an expectation that we just stand there and they throw a challenge at us and we do nothing. Just take it.

“We think it’s a very respectful way of responding, and it’s unique to us because of the boomerang shape, so we won’t we won’t be stopping that.”

Rennie also spoke about the controversial incidents which played a key role in the last game and the subsequent fallout from the clash.

The head coach accepted Swain’s ban but believed there was another piece of foul play, from Fletcher Newell on Scott Sio, which should have been picked up on.

It left Sio with a hamstring injury, ruling him out of their final Rugby Championship match.

“In the end, you can’t use it as a defence (to Swain’s incident) but we’re just highlighting the fact that we’ve got one incident that’s been picked up, punished on field and off field, and another example that’s been glossed over,” Rennie said.


Another big call came at the end of the game with referee Mathieu Raynal penalising the Wallabies for time-wasting, which led to Rugby Australia lodging a complaint with the sport’s governing body.

“We’ve obviously been in contact with World Rugby around it, and they agreed with our concerns,” Rennie said. “We’ve decided to just take that on the chin and we’re going to move on.”

Rennie is looking for Australia to “go one better this week” after they came up just short in Melbourne despite an excellent performance.

“While we’re disappointed, we’re not going to Eden Park with a chance of winning the Bledisloe Cup, it’s a fairly big game for the All Blacks still with a Rugby Championship crown up for grabs,” he added.

“So, we’re taking the game very seriously. It’s a big match for us. It’s a big match for them.

“There will be a bit of hype around it and the fact that there was a bit of controversy at the end of the game, but it was still an unbelievable game of footy.”

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