Rugby headlines as former Springbok goads All Blacks and New Zealand told haka’s ‘days might be numbered’

Your latest rugby morning headlines for Monday, August 23.

Mallett lays down gauntlet to All Blacks

Nick Mallett says New Zealand need to show a real “strength of personality” when they face South Africa next month.

The All Blacks and the Springboks are due to meet in the Rugby Championship on September 25 before facing off once again seven days later.

It comes after the reigning world champions secured a pair of victories over Argentina after their 2-1 series triumph over the British and Irish Lions earlier on in the summer.

And former South Africa head coach Mallett says the world’s best ranked side have what it takes to defeat the All Blacks.

“So let’s get New Zealand over here, they’re the best at running the ball,” he is quoted as saying in SA Rugby Mag.

“We’re the best at tackling people who run the ball and turning them over.

“We’ve got a far better set-piece than them, we’ve got a better maul than them, we’ve got a better kicking game than them. It’s a clash of two different styles of play.

“I really hope we have the Rugby Championship in South Africa starting on the 11th of September. We need to play New Zealand and Australia.

“I can’t use the word on TV, but the All Blacks need to show the ‘strength of personality’ to come over here and play the 100th Test in South Africa. ‘Cojones’ – that’s the word in Argentina!”

READ MORE: ‘I wouldn’t rule him out of Wales Test return’ — Shane Williams on star’s Welsh rugby comeback amid Gareth Anscombe warning

‘The haka’s days might be numbered’

The haka’s days could be numbered, according to the Telegraph’s Charles Richardson.

It comes after Exeter Chiefs were put under renewed scrutiny over their Native American branding as rival fans write to the club asking them to ban headdresses at their stadium.

Richardson went on to describe the branding as ‘wholly unnecessary’ and pondered ‘who is next?’ In the sport.

He wrote: “Might, even, the haka be on borrowed time, too? From a purely sporting sense, it should be; no one has ever adequately explained why any country has the right to perform an intimidatory tribal war dance before a rugby match while the opposition has to politely spectate. In terms of social and cultural status, however, surely it is misappropriation 101?

“Rugby’s link to the haka is no more authentic than chalk to cheese or Exeter to the Iroquois. The haka is a tribal war dance originating with the indigenous Maori in New Zealand.

“Over the course of the 20th Century, it has been piggybacked, objectified and commercially exploited by rugby union; a Maori cultural symbol that has been caricatured and fetishised the world over.

“And, just like those Chiefs headdresses, those Knights, Saracens and Crusaders, its days might be numbered.”

Wales face the haka ahead of the third place play-off at the 2019 Rugby World Cup

Ex-Dragons scrum-half to retire

Luke Baldwin is set to retire from professional rugby after being released by Worcester Warriors.

The scrum-half has spent the last two years with the Dragons but was let go by Worcester in the summer after returning from Rodney Parade.

And the 30-year-old – who also played for Saracens, Blackheath, Bedford Blues and Bristol – is now set to pursue a career in finance.

“I’m going into financial services, asset management,” he told The Rugby Paper.

“The last few months have been a bit of a slog, if I am honest.

“I knew the writing was on the wall in January, and I started to put plans in place using the rugby network and contacts to get a job in financial services.

“I’m starting in mid-September. It was a combination of the right contract not being there to make it worthwhile carrying on playing.

“Certainly post Covid I hadn’t been playing a lot for the Dragons, and mentally I knew that I was at the end of the road.”

Fitzpatrick calls for Peel patience

Sean Fitzpatrick says Dwayne Peel has a big job on his hands with the Scarlets.

Former Wales international Peel – who won 76 caps for his country between 2001 and 2011 – has been confirmed as head coach of the region ahead of the upcoming campaign.

And New Zealand legend Fitzpatrick says he’s excited by the prospect of watching the Scarlets under the leadership of 39-year-old ex-scrum-half Peel.

“Dwayne is an absolute legend of Scarlets rugby, and a good person and potentially a very good coach,” he told the BBC.

“He’s got a big job on his hands. He knows that.

“It’s not going to happen overnight. It’s a long-term situation.

“He’s got some good coaching people around him now in terms of the fitness guys. It’s exciting.”

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