Mako Vunipola On Who Came Up With The Idea For England’s ‘Flying V’ During The Haka
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England prop Mako Vunipola says it was head coach Eddie Jones’ idea for them to stand in a ‘flying v’ formation as they prepared to face the Haka ahead of their Rugby World Cup semi-final clash with the All Blacks yesterday.
Jones’ men moved as close as possible to the defending champions’ war cry before their crucial showdown. But Vunipola says they did not mean to cause any offence to New Zealand.
The Saracens loosehead says they just wanted to let the All Blacks know that they were “ready for the challenge” that awaited them.
“We talked about it as a team but obviously everything has to get past the boss. He gave us the idea,” Vunipola said.
“We wanted to be respectful but we wanted to also make sure they understood we would be ready for the fight.
“We just knew we had to back it up. There have been a few times in the past when the All Blacks have had that done to them and blown the opposition away.
“We put accountability on ourselves to back it up and I thought we did. We knew it would rile them up, it probably felt like we had disrespected them.
“We meant no offence, we just wanted to let them know we were ready for the challenge ahead. It was a ferocious contest, which is what you expect.”
Referee Nigel Owens meanwhile was seen having a word with Joe Marler, telling him to take a step back. Vunipola says his fellow prop got a little confused as to how far they were planning on going.
“Marler said he got confused. He thought he was supposed to go all the way around the Haka,” Vunipola added.
“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!
“We knew the All Blacks, when they play a big Test, always start well. We knew they were going to come at us and we had to respond.
“Luckily we have some athletes like Manu who can just dive over like that and make it easy.
“It was only the start but we mentioned we had to stay alive for the whole game.
“They are the best team in the world for a reason and can score from anywhere. It helped we had a good start.”
Captain Owen Farrell added that England didn’t want to just “stand there” and let the All Blacks come at them.
“We wanted to not just stand there and let them come at us,” Farell said.
“We wanted to keep a respectful distance but we didn’t want to just stand in a flat line and let them come at us.”