I was confused when I heard the announcers refer to them as all of the above, but there is no denying the power of their brand, a brand that not only commands respect but, far too often, demands it too.
It’s not that long ago that NZ (or the AB) refused to perform their traditional Haka in Cardiff as it was to be trumped by some Welsh singing to follow the ritual. As a result the Haka was performed in the changing room and the AB (or is that NZ) lost some respect.
But they made up for it with their play which was in the main, quite magnificent.
Again on Saturday, they demanded respect, taking the last slot of the pre-match action to perform their ritual. The Welsh team stood in respect, the vast majority of the fans at the Stadium stood and cheered in respect and roared their appreciation. There is a deep affinity between the 2 nations.
And 2 minutes later Bradley Davies, the Welsh second-row, lay unconscious having been felled by a totally unprovoked and possibly criminal act of violence.
This is not the first instance of AB violence: just ask Brian O’Driscoll about the first few minutes of his matches in NZ. But it has to be the last and until it is clear that the AB have cleared their act and are worthy of respect, their Haka should be confined to the changing room.
Respect has to be earnt, not demanded as a right. And it is definitely not won from a right hook.