A lot in the papers about how the English team should respond to the All Blacks Haka.
"Look at the big poofs dancing . . ." Fran Cotton, Otley, Yorkshire, 1979
It may have lacked the poetic genius of Shakespeare, the Oscar-winning rhetoric of Mel Gibson, but did Fran Cotton's jocular debunking of the haka inspire the North to their famous 21-9 victory over the mighty All Blacks of 26 years ago, a game which has become part of rugby union folklore?
Letters to the Editor The Times
Sir, ...The time has come for the English team to face down this intimidation with our traditional, but equally unsettling, morris dance.
I have always preferred the suggestion of a more traditional English response - "Front rank kneel, make ready, middle rank p'sent, rear rank fire; p'sent, fire; p'sent, fire.. full details are here and below..
Explanation of the Position of each Rank in the Firings,
by Battalions, Wings, or Grand Divisions.
Front Rank Kneeling
Ready. Bring the firelock briskly up to the recover, catching it in the left hand; and
without stopping, sink down with a quick motion upon the right knee, keeping
the left foot fast, the butt end of the firelock, at the same moment, falling upon
the ground; then cock; and instantly seize the cock and steel together in the
right hand, holding the piece firm in the left, about the middle of that part
which is between the lock and the swell of the stock; the point of the left thumb
to be close to the swell, and pointing upwards.
As the body is sinking, the right knee is to be thrown so far back that the left
leg may be right up and down: the right foot a little turned out: the body
straight, and the head as much up as if shouldered; the firelock must be
upright., and the butt about four inches to the, right of the inside of the left
Present. Bring the firelock down firmly to the present, by sliding the left hand to -the
full extent of the arm, along the sling, without letting the motion tell; the right
hand at the same time springing up the butt by the cock so high against the
right shoulder, that the head may not be too much lowered in taking aim: the
right cheek to be close to the butt; the left eye shut, and the fore-finger of the
right hand on the trigger; look along the barrel with the right eye from the
breech-pin to the muzzle, and remain steady.
Fire. Pull the trigger strong with the fore-finger, and when fired, remain looking on
the aim, while you can count one-two; then spring up nimbly on the left leg
keeping the body erect, and the left foot fast, bringing the right heel to the
hollow the left; at the same time drop the firelock to the priming position. -
Half-cock and proceed with the priming and loading motions as before
Rules and Regulations
1816 Drill Manual Page 30
Make Ready. Spring the firelock briskly to the recover; as soon as the left hand seizes the
firelock above the lock, raise the right elbow a little, placing the thumb of that
hand upon the cock, with the fingers open by the plate of the lock; and then, as
quick as possible, cock the piece, by dripping the elbow, and forcing down the
cock with the thumb, step at the same time with the right foot a moderate pace
to the right, and keeping the left fast, seize the small of the butt with the right
hand: the piece must be held in this position perpendicular, and opposite the
left side of the face; the butt close to the breast, but not pressed; the body
straight, and full to the front, and the head erect.
Present. As in the foregoing explanation for the front rank.
Fire. As in explanation for front rank, with this difference, that as soon as fired, and
after dwelling on the aim as directed, the firelock is to be dropped briskly to
the priming position; the left foot being at the same time drawn up to the right,
and, immediately after the firelock is thrown up to the shoulder, the men spring
to the left and cover their file leaders.
Make Ready. Recover and cock, as before directed for the center rank, and, as the firelock is
brought to the recover, step briskly to the right: a full pace, at the same time
placing the left heel about six inches before the point of the right foot. The
body to be kept straight, and, as square to the front as possible.
Present. As in explanation for the centre rank.
Fire. As in explanation for the center rank: after shouldering, the men step to the left
and cover their file leaders as the center rank does.
In firing with the front rank standing, that rank makes ready, etc. as specified
in the article relative to the platoon exercise.
Officers. N.B. In giving words of command, as well in as out of the ranks, officers are to
stand perfectly steady, and in their proper position; their swords held firmly in
the full of the right hand, with the upper part of the blade resting against the
shoulder, the right wrist against the hip, and the elbow drawn back.
In firing by grand divisions, the centre officer falls back, on the preparative,
into the fourth rank, and is replaced by the covering serjeant.