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England has been fined for crossing the halfway line during New Zealand’s haka after players made a provocative V-shaped formation before last weekend’s Rugby World Cup semifinal in Yokohama, tournament organizers said Wednesday.
Protocol states opponents must remain in their own half while the All Blacks perform their traditional war dance, but several England players strayed across the line despite the efforts of officials to usher them back.
Despite the fine, New Zealand coach Steve Hansen on Wednesday praised the way England’s players faced down the haka, calling it “fantastic” and insisting “the haka requires a response.”
England won the blockbuster semifinal 19-7, dethroning the two-time defending champion, and will take on South Africa in Saturday’s final.
As New Zealand lined up to begin the haka, England’s players opted not to face the challenge shoulder-to-shoulder, as is customary, and instead lined up in an inverted V — with the two prongs
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