Crusaders v Highlanders clash cancelled in wake of Christchurch terror attack

Author
NZ Herald,
Section
Sport News,
Publish Date
Saturday, 16 March 2019, 2:05PM
The game at Forsyth Barr Stadium will not go ahead. Photo / Photosport
The game at Forsyth Barr Stadium will not go ahead. Photo / Photosport

The Super Rugby match between the Crusaders and the Highlanders in Dunedin has been called off in the wake of the Christchurch shootings.

The match, which was to be played at Forsyth Barr Stadium tonight, will not go ahead.

New Zealand Rugby's Chief Rugby Officer Nigel Cass said the decision to cancel the match was made after urgent meetings today with both teams, venue management, police and community organisations involved in responses to yesterday's terrorist attacks in Christchurch.

"After consulting widely with both teams and key stakeholders, New Zealand Rugby has decided to cancel this evening's match.

"Advice from police and venue management was that the fixture could go ahead, however, with strong agreement from both teams we have made the final call not to proceed as a mark of respect for the events that have occurred in Christchurch."

Crusaders CEO Colin Mainsbridge said their entire club community was in a state of shock.

"Yesterday's horrific attacks have left us all feeling stunned. All other issues and considerations pale in significance. We will now regroup and make arrangements for the team to return home as soon as possible to be back in their community and with their families."

Highlanders CEO Roger Clark said they were working to communicate with ticketholders and fans.

"This is always the biggest fixture on our match calendar and one which our fans look forward to, but when we think about the massive loss of life and absolute devastation that has been wreacked on people in Christchurch, we feel this is the right decision.

"For ticketholders refunds will be processed over the next three weeks further information will be available through ticketrocket.co.nz."

The Highlanders team has met today and all players have been advised to go home and be with their families.

The Super Rugby encounter between the Hurricanes and the Chiefs went ahead last night, but Hurricanes halfback TJ Perenara admitted it was hard to focus on the game after the awful scenes from Christchurch earlier in the day.

"Regardless of how that result went, that wouldn't have been the most important part of my day and I don't think anyone in this circle or in this country would say that this was the most important thing today, and that comes from a very competitive person who would do pretty much anything to win," Perenara told media after the match.

"My mind was on the game when I was in the game, but today was bigger than rugby."

The NRL clash between the Warriors and the Bulldogs at Mount Smart Stadium will still be played, with the Warriors giving away free tickets to the game.

 

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