Haka holds no fears for Wallabies prop - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Haka holds no fears for Wallabies prop

Laine Clark 24/08/2011 03:27:46 PM Comments (0)

Learning the haka as an Auckland schoolboy was fun for Sekope Kepu.

But staring it down has given him a much better appreciation.

Kepu may be raised in New Zealand, but he says facing the haka in Wallabies colours ranks as one of the most enjoyable experiences of his life.

The powerhouse prop performed it countless times growing up - yet he hardly felt awkward watching it in full flight in his first game against the All Blacks at Eden Park on August 6.

And Kepu said it would again motivate him as the Wallabies look to break a 10-year Tri-Nations title drought with a win over New Zealand in Brisbane on Saturday night.

"I embrace it, I love it," Kepu said on Wednesday when asked what it meant to face the haka.

"I grew up at (Auckland's) Wesley College. We learned the haka and would do it every morning - I know five different hakas.

"To actually face it is something you don't really get to do so you embrace it, and use it as motivation."

As a kid, Kepu dreamed of performing the haka at a World Cup.

But fate stepped in when Kepu broke his collarbone playing for Counties-Manukau in the 2007 NPC opening round.

It cost him a place in the Chiefs' Super Rugby squad, but resulted in a move to the NSW Waratahs - and a change in allegiances.

But Kepu joked his family may still need some convincing.

"My parents are still in Auckland as are my wife's parents, I have got a lot of family there (in New Zealand) - hopefully they will be cheering for us," he smiled.

"But it was probably one of the biggest days of my life to come up against the All Blacks - it was really special.

"To get to do that again is something I am looking forward to."

Kepu has not looked back since slotting into injured Benn Robinson's No.1 jersey for the Tri-Nations campaign.

Text messages with "helpful tips" from Robinson have helped his stunning rise.

But Kepu believed lining up against ex-New Zealand under-21 teammate Owen Franks on Saturday night may provide a better education.

"It's always good to test yourself against the best - I am looking forward to it," he said.

"He's got to be one of the best at the moment going around - I always enjoy coming up against him.

"You never know how good you are until you go up against the best."

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