The All Blacks' final haka at the 2019 Rugby World Cup doubled as a heartfelt tribute to Kieran Read, with the departing captain leading the traditional challenge by performing Ka Mate for the first time this tournament.

After a week filled with disappointment following the semifinal defeat to England, and spurred on by the final appearance in black of Read and a handful of other senior players, the All Blacks departed from the usual Kapa O Pango - with halfback Aaron Smith at the front.

Read is playing in his 127th and last test before joining Toyota Verblitz in Japan next season.

Earlier this week England were fined by World Rugby for their response to the haka before the semifinal in Yokohama City.

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The English stunned the All Blacks 19-7 after lining up in a V-formation and advancing on the haka.

The All Blacks perform tha haka before kickoff against Wales. Photo / Getty Images
The All Blacks perform tha haka before kickoff against Wales. Photo / Getty Images

According to the Guardian, the English were fined "a four-figure sum", however, it is believed to be less than the fine handed down to France for similar tactics ahead of the 2011 final. On that occasion, the French were fined $4,300.

Earlier today, controversial Welsh columnist Stephen Jones called for the All Blacks to stop performing the haka before test matches, calling it "bogus" and a "means of rank bullying on and off the field".

The England team face the haka during the Semi-Final match. Photo / Getty
The England team face the haka during the Semi-Final match. Photo / Getty

Jones, New Zealand rugby's most famous critic, took aim at New Zealand's pre-match ritual, suggesting it's performed to satisfy sponsors and television and felt it was time the rugby world moved on.

"The haka has long been partly bonkers," Jones wrote in his column for The Times. "It is now interminable; it takes up ages with the other team freezing. It is now a means of rank bullying on and off the field, and has become a posing strut rather than a tribute to the Māori heritage in New Zealand."