The Haka, Boston Style?

It is recognized as one of the leading rugby union clubs in the United States, and its mascot is the Irish Wolfhound.

The Boston Irish Wolfhounds Rugby Football Club is based in (wait for it…..) Boston, Massachusetts. Established in 1989, the club competes in the New England Rugby Union, division 2, but the players are from all over the world, including Ireland, New Zealand, England, Australia, Argentina, Canada, South Africa, Venezuela, and of course, the United States.

Of their recruiting efforts, they write, “The Wolfhounds have been able to provide hospitality, housing, and career opportunities for players coming to Boston to play for the Hounds.”

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If you’re ever in the Boston area and want to meet up with the “lads,” we hear they can be found after a match at Lir’s Irish pub in the heart of Boston’s Back Bay. Just saying.

By the way, we don’t know if the Wolfhounds perform their own version of the Haka, but if you’re like us (and we know we are) you will be mesmerized by the Haka if you’re unfamiliar with it.

The Haka was made world famous by the New Zealand’s All Blacks, that country’s premier rugby team. Many of the players are Māori, and the Haka is deeply meaningful to the Māori culture. It is a ceremonial challenge, a posture dance, if you will, performed by a group (we’ve even seen it done at a wedding) marked by foot stamping, threatening (read:ugly) facial expressions, and rhythmically shouted words. Historically, it was the traditional battle preparations of male warriors, but it’s performed by both men and women to welcome distinguished guests, or to acknowledge great achievements, occasions or funerals. In the case of the All Blacks, it’s intended to intimidate their opponents:

Look up “haka” on You Tube and see the many ways it’s been used. It can be impressive, moving, touching, and most of all, it is a celebration of a culture.

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