England might have defeated New Zealand to qualify for the Rugby World Cup 2019 final, but they may be handed a fine for their pre-match conduct. While the All Blacks performed their customary haka, the English team stood in a V-formation instead of the regular line in front of the opposing team. World Rugby might fine the winning team since their players crossed the halfway line, breaching "custom ritual protocol."
In 2011, the French team was handed a fine for their breach of the custom ritual protocol. The French team had formed an arrow-head formation and advanced towards the New Zealand team as they performed the haka. The 2011 World Cup final pre-match challenge resulted in the French side getting fined for £2,500. According to the protocol, teams can perform or respond within their own half of the field. By advancing towards the New Zealand team, the French side crossed the halfway line resulting in the fine.
The English side used a similar response in their semifinal against the All Blacks. While the world buzzed around captain Owen Farrell's defiant smirk, some noted that six English players were violating the custom ritual protocol.
While it was the idea of Eddie Jones to stand in the V-formation to intimidate the opponent, standing beyond the halfway line was a risk that six players took. Joe Marler, Billy Vunipola, Mark Wilson, Elliot Daly, Luke Cowan‑Dickie, and Ben Youngs were the players who violated protocol.
New Zealand performs the traditional Maori war dance to intimidate their opponent. The traditional dance used to be performed by warriors before going to war against other tribes. Usually, the powerful performance has a psychological effect on the opposing team. However, the English side used their own actions to respond to intimidation tactics.
The Guardian reports that player Mako Vunipola admitted that their team was trying to respectfully rile up the All Blacks ahead of their clash. Officials tried to tell the six players to return to their half of the field, which they refused to do. World Rugby will be taking all things into consideration before deciding on the issue.