Varsity Cup

'All Blacks' no longer performing haka after NZ Rugby write to WSU

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Walter Sisulu University.
Walter Sisulu University.

The Walter Sisulu University (WSU) All Blacks will no longer perform their rendition of the haka before Varsity Shield games after New Zealand Rugby wrote to the team.

The official Varsity Cup website confirmed as much on Wednesday with an article quoting captain Litha Nkula saying WSU had received a letter from New Zealand Rugby asking them to stop performing the haka.

"New Zealand Rugby asked us not to do the haka for now," the fullback told

"They said they can maybe help us to do it in another way or form because 'Kapa O Panga' has deep and meaningful roots in New Zealand."

READ | Leave WSU to Kapa O Pango to their hearts' content

The team from East London drew awe and ire in equal measure for their "copycat" haka routine, especially after they performed New Zealand All Blacks' sacred Kapa O Pango during the first Varsity Shield bubble at the University of Pretoria last month.

Some have accused WSU of cultural appropriation of the Maori ritual, while others found entertainment and freedom of expression in the act. 

The team itself said they performed the haka as an ode to the internally-renowned All Blacks - the three-time World Cup-winning team.

WSU did not perform the haka for their first match on their return to the Varsity Cup Village against Rhodes University on Sunday, which they won 63-10.

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