Don't expect the All Blacks to pay any attention to the singing or apparent lack of interest among the Twickenham crowd when they draw battle lines and lay down the challenge by performing the haka tomorrow morning.

England coach Eddie Jones, never shy of stoking tensions, caused somewhat of a stir when he suggested he had no interest in the haka.

"At that stage of the game, they could be playing the Spice Girls and I wouldn't know what's being played," Jones said yesterday. "They're making a comeback aren't they, the Spice Girls? Maybe they could sing at that time. It's got no relevance to me at all."

All Blacks captain Kieran Read, speaking on the eve of the highly anticipated test in what will be his final outing at the famous London venue, explained the importance of the pre-match tradition.

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"We do the haka as a challenge but it's also more about us connecting as a team," Read, who stands at head of the formation, said. "The opposition can do what they like. For us we'll respect what they do and hopefully the haka shows respect as well. We'll see what happens.

The All Blacks perform the haka prior to The Rugby Championship game between the New Zealand All Blacks and the Australia Wallabies. Photo / Photosport.co.nz
The All Blacks perform the haka prior to The Rugby Championship game between the New Zealand All Blacks and the Australia Wallabies. Photo / Photosport.co.nz

"It's part of the history of the game and us as New Zealanders. I certainly get a kick out of it and I'm sure the crowd does as well. Whether they sing or what it adds to the atmosphere. For me I think it's a great part of the game that we need to keep going.

"It's pretty much just white noise when you get on the field - appropriate with the English – whoever is yelling and screaming you've just got to adapt to it. Around the world you just get out there and enjoy the atmosphere."


This week is, undoubtedly, special for the All Blacks. So much so they've had to try keep a lid on emotions.

"The guys are excited - we've had to rein it in to keep our energy for Saturday. It's a mental game but also physically making sure we do the work but not do too much and play the game in your head or on the training field you've got to keep energy in the tank."

Under Jones, Twickenham has been something of a fortress with England suffering one loss there.

Against the All Blacks, though, England's record is not so flash with five victories from 22 encounters dating back to 1925.

The All Blacks have, in fact, won 14 of the last 15 tests with the red rose. And, of course, those involved three years ago have fond memories of the triumphant 2015 World Cup semifinal and final at Twickenham.

"I've really enjoyed playing on the big stages and Twickenham is certainly one of the, if not the, biggest stage in rugby so I'm looking forward to that."

The All Blacks have waited four years for a crack at England and the Sir Edmund Hillary Shield, and with this match falling one day before the Armistice Day centenary, the significance of wearing the poppy on the jersey only adds to the occasion.

"I've been in these occasions before and, yeah, certainly when there's the minute silence it's hard to keep your emotions in check you know what all these great people did a long time ago to give us what we have now so you reflect on that and then you've got to put it to the side as well because there's a job at hand.

"As a team I think they've certainly improved and right now they're one of the top teams in the world. They play a game that, yep, can be fairly conservative but it wins football games and they've got some guys out there who are pretty devastating with ball in hand so you've got to give them due respect for that."