Steve Hansen has come out in defence of the All Blacks haka, after a new book from British journalist Peter Bills revealed frustrations from several ex-All Blacks about its heavy use.
In a chapter on identity from the book The Jersey, ex-All Blacks including Sir Colin Meads and Kees Meeuws revealed their own frustrations about the heavy use of the haka.
"It has lost its mana," Meeuws is quoted as saying in the book. "It has become a showpiece. They should do it at certain test matches but not all.
"It was good a few years ago when they had a choice. But now they play 14 test matches a year and that's too much as far as the haka is concerned. We should either have it at home or just away from home, like it used to be. Not both."
Meads also echoed Meeuws' concerns in comments made a few months before his death in 2017, while the team's mental skills coach Gilbert Enoka suggested the All Blacks had previously felt "haka-ed out".
However, Hansen disagreed with the suggestion of haka fatigue, saying it means a lot to this group of players.
"I don't think it's been used too much," said the All Blacks head coach before the team departed for Australia ahead of the first Bledisloe Cup test of the year.
"It's part of the tradition and I found it interesting that someone like Kees (Meeuws) would say it's being used too much. When he was there he thrived on it.
"We don't use it any different than we've ever used it. It's part of the commencement of the game and it means a lot to this group. They understand all about it, we understand it's not for anybody else other than ourselves and we draw a lot from it."
All Blacks selector Grant Fox also expressed support for the haka, saying the desire and commitment from the players remained strong.
"It's a very traditional part of what we do," Fox told Radiolive. "At the end of the day, part of it is obviously going to be about the boys and their desire and attitude toward it, which is very committed to it I've gotta say from what I've [seen].
"Some teams would probably like to see us not do it so often because they think somehow it gives us an advantage. I'm not convinced it does that, it's just a very traditional part of what we do prior to a match."