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Christchurch team cancels Super Rugby match after shootings

The Super Rugby match between the Christchurch-based Crusaders and Dunedin-based Highlanders on Saturday has been canceled as a mark of respect to victims of the mass shootings at two Christchurch mosques.
New Zealand Rugby said the decision to cancel the Dunedin match was taken after a meeting with teams, venue management, police and community organizations involved in the response to Friday's shootings which left 49 dead.
"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," New Zealand Rugby's chief rugby officer Nigel Cass in a statement.
Crusaders chief executive Colin Mainsbridge said the club, players and community were deeply shocked by Friday's events.
"Yesterday's horrific attacks have left us all feeling stunned," he said. "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."
A crowd of more than 20,000 had been expected for the match but Highlanders chief Roger Clark said he fully supported the cancellation.
"This is always the biggest fixture on our match calendar and one which our fans look forward to," he said. "But when we think about the massive loss of life and absolute devastation that has been wreaked on people in Christchurch, we feel this is the right decision."
Both teams will take two competition points from the match. The Crusaders are the defending champions of the Super Rugby competition, which involves teams from New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, Japan and Argentina.


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