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 tomorrow 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: “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.
Etzebeth out of Springbok side to face France
South African lock forward Eben Etzebeth will miss tomorrow’s one-off Test against France after failing to recover from an ankle injury. Etzebeth will be replaced by Franco Mostert, one of three changes announced by coach Rassie Erasmus to the side that lost 12-11 in controversial fashion at Twickenham.
Full-back Willie le Roux and scrum-half Faf de Klerk also come into the starting XV in place of Damian Willemse and Ivan van Zyl.
Etzebeth was injured during the defeat at Twickenham and initially ruled out of the Paris game only for Erasmus to raise the possibility on Monday that the 27-year-old may be fit after all.
Like new Gloucester recruit Mostert, Le Roux and de Klerk were not at Twickenham as the match fell outside the recognised international window and they were retained by their English clubs.
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