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UPDATED: Highlanders v Crusaders match cancelled due to terrorist attacks

Sam Whitelock is tackled during a clash against the Highlanders. (Photo by Dianne Manson/Getty Images)

Tonight’s Highlanders v Crusaders Super Rugby fixture scheduled to be played at Dunedin’s Forsyth Barr Stadium has been cancelled.

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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.”

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

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