England players weren’t going to let the All Blacks dictate terms.
England players weren’t going to let the All Blacks dictate terms.

England faces penalty for haka drama

ENGLAND'S radical response to the haka is set to hit it in the pocket.

Prior to England's 19-7 Rugby World Cup semi-final win over the All Blacks at Yokohama Stadium on Saturday night, Eddie Jones' team made headlines for its counter-move to the Kiwis' pre-match ritual.

England lined up in front of the traditional challenge in a V formation and had to be told to retreat by officials when they moved too close to the All Blacks by crossing the halfway line.

England prop Mako Vunipola admitted "we knew it would rile them up" while the captain Owen Farrell, who could be seen smirking during the haka, said: "We wanted not to just stand there and let them come at us."

But England could now be fined for their V-shaped response due to breaching a "cultural ritual protocol".

It is understood that the protocol states opponents must not cross the halfway line.

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At the two tips of England's V Joe Marler, Billy Vunipola, Mark Wilson, Elliot Daly, Luke Cowan‑Dickie and Ben Youngs all appeared to be standing in the All Blacks' half.

Speaking on the matter, Vunipola said it was more a matter of confusion.

"(Joe Marler) said he got confused," Mako Vunipola said. "He thought he was supposed to go all the way around it and go to their 10. But because of that, he's the one who has to pay the fine.

"He dishes it out a lot so the boys would be more than happy if he has to pay it."

World Rugby will consider whether any punishment is given later today.

Former English player turned commentator Stuart Barnes said it was ridiculous to issue any fine.

"England should shove any fine up the appropriate bottoms," Barne wrote on Twitter. "If NZ has the right to the Haka, opposing teams have a right to counter it as they wish (within reason).

"England were within reason. Let every team have their own dance pre game, Michael Jackson, or a bob shuffle. Farcical."

England’s bold move paid off.
England’s bold move paid off.

In 2011, France formed an arrow shape and advanced on New Zealand while the haka was being performed, only to later be hit with a $4000 fine.

It's not that big a hit for England as their players will share a jackpot of over $2 million for reaching their first World Cup final since 2007.

It is believed Jones' men will receive the biggest single bonus payment for a Test match.

It is understood the Rugby Football Union (RFU) will pay out nearly $78,000 to each member of Jones' 31-man squad - a total of $2.4 million.

The RFU payout is more than double what New Zealand's players would have earned.