Watch this video and tell us what you think of the performance

Varsity rugby ‘haka’ divides opinion

Before going on to demolish DUT in a 22-try, 136-11 performance in South Africa’s Varsity Shield, the ‘All Blacks’ of Walter Sisulu University made a statement. They did so via the medium of a ‘haka’.

In the aftermath of the game, fans took to social media to voice their views on the performance of the Eastern Cape side – ranging from support to indignation. Here are just a few examples:

AP Cronje tweeted: “Embarrassing. SA is a country with such diverse culture, heritage and traditions. Why transplant something from NZ? It’s cheap performative nonsense, and disrespectful to Maori culture to boot.

Twitter user Yema, said: “why couldn’t they just do something aligned with Xhosa? I don’t understand

While Isaiah Smiler tweeted: “I for one, think that this is absolutely fire! People bagging these guys for doing a “haka” pre-game need to seriously look at themselves. They’ve taken the time to learn the words to Kapa ō Pango, learn the actions, and lay the challenge down with mana.

Related: University Challenge: a look at the Varsity Cup

It is not the first time WSU have risen to widespread attention performing their version of the haka. Inspired by the World Cup-winning All Blacks of 2015, the team began doing post-game renditions from 2016 onwards. In 2017, the team performed it before their televised game against FNB Rhodes.

At the time, their head coach Sipho Metula said: “Sport is there to unite the nations; this is a reason why there is nothing wrong in adapting to a culture that has inspired growth and team spirit within FNB WSU,” adding that he had spoken with several Kiwis who were proud to see their culture being embraced further afield.

Back then, assistant coach Akhona Mgijima added: “We also needed to allow the students to be students and for them to entertain the spectators in a vibrant and innovative manner.”

What do you think of the side’s haka? Let us know your thoughts by emailing or get in touch via social media.

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