BAGSHOT, England (Reuters) - Eddie Jones says the discussion about whether the Twickenham crowd should respect or drown out the All Blacks’ haka had no relevance to him, adding that the Spice Girls could be singing for all the attention he will give the issue.
England face New Zealand for the first time in four years on Saturday and the vast majority of the 82,000 crowd will belt out the loudest-possible rendition of their “Swing Low” anthem to drown out the pre-match haka war-dance performed by the visitors.
The sport’s governing body World Rugby has instructed teams to respect the traditional challenge, where the players poke out their tongues, bulge their eyes and slap their thighs in an attempt to unsettle their opponents.
Teams have tried various ways to deal with it, including nose to nose confrontation and declining to face it, and the England fans’ response divides opinion.
Asked where he stood on the issue, Australian Jones told reporters on Thursday: “At that stage of the game, they could be playing the Spice Girls and I wouldn’t know what’s being played.
“They’re making a comeback aren’t they, the Spice girls?
Maybe they could sing at that time. It’s got not relevance to me at all.”
The hugely successful British all-girl band of the late 1990s announced this week that they will get back together for a tour next year, although their only London appearance is scheduled for Wembley rather than Twickenham.
Reporting by Mitch Phillips, editing by Ed Osmond