Ryan Tubridy believes Ireland fans did nothing wrong by drowning out New Zealand’s haka with The Fields of Athenry prior to Saturday’s clash in Dublin.
Andy Farrell’s side recorded a famous 29-20 win over the top ranked side in the world, but a major talking point for fans arose before the game started.
With Ireland playing in front of a sell-out crowd at the Aviva Stadium for the first time since the onset of the pandemic, the atmosphere in the stadium was electric.
After the national anthems, the All Blacks got into their traditional formation for the haka, the ceremonial Maori dance they have made famous.
But about halfway through the haka, some Ireland fans started singing ‘The Fields of Athenry’ which worked to drown out the war cries of the All Blacks.
The singing divided Ireland fans on social media, but Tubridy, who attended the match with his daughter, has backed those who participated in it.
Speaking on his RTE Radio 1 show, he said: “I was lucky to be there and it was amazing because the haka was going on and you could hear it in the crowd.
“When the haka is going on, you can either do one or two things – go deathly silent and let them off or, as happened in the stadium the other day, actually we’re going to out hak you ourselves with our song, The Fields of Athenry.
“I know a few people were trying to [shush those who were singing], but actually it felt like all is fair in rugby and war.
“They’re doing their thing, this is our haka so suck it up boys and if you don’t like it get out.”
Tubridy admits he was in two minds about fans singing during the haka initially, but became in favour of it the more it went on.
He added: “I was in two minds but the more it went on the more I said ‘well hang on they’re doing this war dance, why can’t we have a war cry?’ It’s fun.”
The drowning out of the haka led to plenty of debate on social media over the weekend, with some in favour and others opposed to it.
One person said: “Lads, I want to hear the Haka with silence like it used to be. We’re supposed to be some of the most respectful fans in the world and there we are chiming in with ‘Athenry’. I’m not into it.”
Another commented: “Bit disrespectful to start singing during the Haka lads…I don’t think the haka should be allowed at the World Cup or competitive matches but respect it when on tour.”
Someone else added: “Maybe it’s just me but I found the singing of “The fields of Athenry” while the All Black’s were in the middle of the Haka disrespectful and disappointing.”
But one Twitter used argued: “The only thing better than the haka is opposition fans and teams rising up to the challenge with this sort of stuff.”
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