AUCKLAND, 12 Sept. – Japan coach John Kirwan has a secret plan to counter the haka when the Brave Blossoms face world No.1 New Zealand in a Pool A encounter on Friday in Hamilton.
The top try scorer for the All Blacks at the inaugural 1987 Rugby World Cup, Kirwan said on Monday he is more than wary of the intimidating effects New Zealand’s pre-game, Maori challenge has on opposing teams.
Kirwan and the Japan players know they cannot let the hosts stamp their seal of authority on the game even before it kicks off.
The last time Japan played New Zealand at the RWC in 1995, the All Blacks won by a record score of 145-17.
“My job is to prepare the team for everything this week,” Kirwan said. “I have a plan for that, but I want to leave it internally in the team.
“The All Blacks get inside the head of a lot of teams with the haka,” added wing Takehisa Usuzuki. “We can’t let it get to us so we can play to the best of our ability.