Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

Gloomy return for Super Rugby after mosque attacks

The Otago Highlanders paid their respects at a mosque on Thursday as Super Rugby prepared to make a sombre return to action a week after the Christchurch killings.

Players laid a wreath and handed over a commemorative jersey to community leaders at the mosque in Dunedin, before travelling to Auckland for Friday’s clash with the Blues.

Last Friday’s massacre at two Christchurch mosques, which left 50 people dead, has stunned rugby-mad New Zealand.

“For us, after the tragic events of last Friday, this was the first chance as a club and individuals we’ve had to show our respect and our condolences to the Muslim community,” Highlanders CEO Roger Clark told TVNZ.

“Somebody said to me it’s a small Muslim community and they’re all connected to someone in Christchurch, so for us to be able to do anything for them is important,” he added.

Further tributes are expected when games resume on Friday. Last week, the Highlanders’ match against the Christchurch-based Crusaders was cancelled, but others went ahead.

The Crusaders, whose name has been called into question after the mass shootings, will hold a minute’s silence before Saturday’s game in Sydney against the NSW Waratahs.

“This tragedy has rocked our community, and we really feel for all those affected by the events of last Friday in Christchurch,” said Crusaders coach Scott Robertson.

All Blacks centre Sonny Bill Williams, a devout Muslim and a former Crusaders player, is skipping Friday’s game for the Blues to support those grieving in Christchurch.

“We admire what he is standing for, the fact he would like to go down there, grieve and be part of the support for the region and the people of New Zealand,” said Blues assistant coach Tom Coventry.

Meanwhile Stormers captain Siya Kolisi said the team had debated whether lock Salmaan Moerat, who is Muslim, should travel to New Zealand for Saturday’s game against the Wellington Hurricanes.

“One of the senior guys in our team was worried about it,” Kolisi told TVNZ. “But we’ll be with him at all times and I know the people of New Zealand will look after us.”

Separately, Japan’s Sunwolves prepare to play the Lions in Singapore knowing this could be their last season in Super Rugby.

Competition organisers are due to make an announcement on Friday following reports that the Sunwolves are about to be axed — six months before Japan hosts the Rugby World Cup.

© Agence France-Presse

Subscribe for R500/year

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them and get a 57% discount in your first year.

Related stories

WELCOME TO YOUR M&G

If you’re reading this, you clearly have great taste

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the Mail & Guardian for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, and get more great reads.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here

Advertising

Subscribers only

Fears of violence persist a year after the murder of...

The court battle to stop coal mining in rural KwaZulu-Natal has heightened the sense of danger among environmental activists

Data shows EFF has lower negative sentiment online among voters...

The EFF has a stronger online presence than the ANC and Democratic Alliance

More top stories

Libyan town clings to memory of Gaddafi, 10 years on

Rebels killed Muammar Gaddafi in his hometown of Sirte on 20 October 2011, months into the Nato-backed rebellion that ended his four-decade rule

Fishing subsidies in the W. Cape: ‘Illegal fishing is our...

Fishers claim they are forced into illegal trawling because subsidies only benefit big vessels

Kenya’s beach boys fall into sex tourism, trafficking

In the face of their families’ poverty, young men, persuaded by the prospect of wealth or education, travel to Europe with their older female sponsors only to be trafficked for sex
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…
×