PHILADELPHIA, PA – When the New Zealand Maori All Blacks came to the City of Brotherly Love for their historic match against Team USA, there were a series of firsts that took place… It was the first visit by the Maori All Blacks to the United States, it was the first sold out crowd at PPL Park for an International Rugby match and… the first time The Haka was drown-out by chants of “USA! USA! USA!”
If you were lucky enough to witness this in person, it was simultaneously exhilarating and somewhat uncomfortable. Was it rude or disrespectful, as some felt? Or was it an organic – and wholly American – response to a challenge on their soil? Well, we put those questions to the experts, Maori Head Coach Colin Cooper, Maori Captain Tim Bateman (who scored two tries) and Kiwi-born USA Rugby fullback, Adam Siddall.
Here are the answers to the aforementioned questions, as asked by our Matt McCarthy and Johnathan Wicklow Barberie:
So, the consensus was as we expected while at the match. The fans own this sport and the American response was not vulgar, rehearsed or rude. It was, simply put, great for rugby. Let’s hope that we see the All Blacks in front of sold-out crowds on USA pitches more and more.
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