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England Rugby fined over V-formation haka response to New Zealand All Blacks

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By Reuters
Some England players crossed the halfway line during the haka, which broke World Rugby rules.
Some England players crossed the halfway line during the haka, which broke World Rugby rules.   -   Copyright  REUTERS

England have been fined for their response to the haka before Saturday's Rugby World Cup semi-final victory over New Zealand.

England players fanned out across the pitch as the All Blacks delivered the traditional challenge, with several players who crossed the halfway line standing their ground when officials tried to usher them back.

World Rugby regulations stipulate opponents must not cross the halfway line while the haka is being performed. It did not disclose the size of the fine, which is to be donated to charity.

"England have been fined for a breach of World Cup tournament rules relating to cultural challenges, which states that no players from the team receiving the challenge may advance beyond the halfway line," the sport's governing body said in a statement.

"This is in line with the protocol which operates globally across the international game."

In the 2011 tournament France were fined £2,500 pounds ($3,216.75) when they advanced on the haka before the final.

Asked about England's actions after the match, captain Owen Farrell said: "We didn't just want to stand in a flat line and let them come at us."

World Rugby's Youtube video of the incident, titled "England’s incredible response to intense New Zealand haka" with a commentator saying "you want box office? You've got it", has been viewed more than four million times.

New Zealand coach Hansen said on Wednesday he had no problems with England's response.

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