If you see the likes of Kenwyne Jones and Craig Gordon lining up to do the haka before next season’s derby with Newcastle United, there will be an explanation for it. The Australian Daily Telegraph reports that Sunderland manager Roy Keane is going to be hooking up with the New Zealand rugby union team over the summer in an attempt to learn some motivational techniques to bestow upon his players back home. What’s the betting that the All Blacks don’t also learn a thing or two from the Irish firebrand?
“I have the green light to have three or four days with them,” he said.
“I don’t know if I will be allowed into any team talks. I’ll keep my head down and just watch them, try to plug into what they are always about.”
Keane said he had always been fascinated by the All Blacks’ pre-match haka.
“If the haka didn’t inspire you before a game, what could?”
Keane has certainly mellowed out since his playing days at Manchester United, although he’s not averse to leaving players behind if they’ve been late for the coach, or dropping players from the squad if they’ve not shown a satisfactory attitude. It seems to have done the trick, with Sunderland pulling away from the drop zone after three consecutive wins in the league, will they now kick on and become the number one club in the north-east?