The Arizona Wildcats debuted a new Haka before the game, and — just as senior defensive lineman Sani Fuimoano promised — it was different.
Fuimaono stood in the center of a crowd of his teammates Saturday. They followed his every move, debuting the new dance.
The Haka’s debut was delayed by a week. Fuimaono decided last week that the team wasn’t up to speed to show it off publicly; the Wildcats performed it in the locker room instead.
Arizona has been doing the Haka pregame since 2009.
The Wildcats developed their own dance following a series of complaints that arose a year ago. Some native New Zealanders said the pregame routine was offensive; a petition started by a California college professor garnered more than 2,000 signatures, and the UA shelved it.
Fuimaono, a Kaneohe, Hawaii, native, met with UA athletic director Greg Byrne and agreed to help come up with a new dance for the 2016 season. He researched and developed the new Haka on his own, and taught his teammates the dance during training camp.