France fined for haka encroachment
France have been fined £2500 for advancing on the New Zealand haka before Sunday's World Cup final, the International Rugby Board have confirmed.
Les Bleus were supposed to remain behind the 10-metre line in their own half but instead advanced towards the All Blacks in a v-formation, led by captain Thierry Dusautoir.
The IRB stated: "As with other in-tournament breaches of the tournament cultural ritual protocol and as per pre-tournament communication with teams, RWCL will impose the standard sanction of £2500."
France coach Marc Lievremont defended his side's actions at Eden Park before a match they lost 8-7. He said: "He (Dusautoir) tried to stop them, there was a bit of movement bringing them forward. But a fine? I don't know."
Speaking before the fine was issued, Dusautoir said the team wanted to make a bold statement and believed it was a worthwhile exercise despite the narrow loss.
"At one stage we were so close to them that they wanted to kiss the New Zealanders, but I told them to take it easy. It was a great moment and a moment we will remember all our lives," Dusautoir said.
France also received support from an unlikely ally with All Blacks manager Darren Shand stating his opposition to the French being fined.
Shand told Newstalk ZB radio: "They came to play and that was great. The culture challenge is that. It should be done and then we get on with the real stuff. I hope it's not overstated."