England players reveal iconic response to All Blacks' haka before RWC semi was drawn up night before, didn't go to plan

Source: 1News

Several members of the England rugby squad have admitted the iconic response to the All Blacks' haka at this year's Rugby World Cup was drawn up "the night before" and didn't exactly go to plan.

Ben Youngs, Tom Curry, Manu Tuilagi and Joe Marler appeared on The Jonathan Ross Show to talk about their World Cup campaign - where they finished second after losing the final to South Africa - when the V-formation came up.

However, as Youngs revealed, the shape itself was actually wrong.

"We met the night before and we said it's a challenge and we want to face the challenge and make sure they know we are up for it so let's get into a semi circle," Youngs said.

"A few lads were still confused."

At that point, Marler interjected to defend his perplexed teammates.

"The issue was, Ben drew it up the night before… He got up and he did it on a flipchart and he marked it all out with Xs and Os," Marler said.

"The issue I had with it is I look at that board and thought, "It's not to scale"... I thought we were meant to be closer than what the picture said.

"[I went over the line] which I thought we were all going to do but then I looked back and they weren't doing it but I thought, I've already committed now."

England were fined a four-figure sum for crossing the line but the challenge itself drew plenty of praise from fans, commentators and even the All Blacks themselves.

"I thought it was awesome, that's what the haka is about, it's a challenge," hooker Dane Coles shortly after the 19-7 semi-final loss.

"They walked forward. I know all the boys were pumped for it we were looking around like 'let's go'.

"From an All Blacks perspective we didn't think it was bad. We thought it was awesome."

Even departing coach Steve Hansen praised the move.

"I thought their response was fantastic," Hansen said. "They didn't get fined for responding for doing what they did, they got fined because they went over halfway. Everyone knows you're not allowed to come over the halfway.

"You've got to get reality here. Joe didn't go back when he got told two or three times. I thought the response was brilliant.

"If you understand the haka, the haka requires a response. It's a challenge to you personally and it requires you to have a response. I thought it was brilliant, quite imaginative too."