New Zealand star Brandon Smith and Kangaroos gun Harry Grant shared one last show of respect after the kiwi haka, hugging as both teams prepared for kickoff.
While Michael Maguire’s team performed the ceremonial war dance, the New Zealand team moved on, coming face to face with the Australians.
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Smith, positioned on the front line, moved in the path of his close friend and former teammate Grant, who couldn’t help but smile.
Smith reached out and the pair shared a hug before the teams moved into their respective halves to prepare for kick-off.
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The moment left Fox League commentators stunned as the elimination semifinal began.
“Yeah, they get as close as possible, how cool it is,” said Fox League’s Andrew Voss.
“It’s incredible, the culture, the aggression, the guys are ready to go,” added Leon Pryce.
Grant and Smith weren’t the only teammates facing the World Cup epic with five Panthers players spread across both teams.
Fifth eighth Cameron Munster has also lined up against regular half-partner Jahrome Hughes, as Roosters’ guns James Tedesco and Joey Manu clash in a full-back battle for centuries.
The drama only escalated when the two teams played an epic modern day test match with Australia winning to the final in the wake of a 16-14 win.
Originally released as “How Good”: Smith and Grant’s last show of respect during the epic haka