Super Rugby: Highlanders v Crusaders match cancelled after Christchurch shootings
New Zealand Rugby says it was "an easy decision" in the end to call off the Highlanders v Crusaders match on Saturday as a way to showing respect to the victims of the Christchurch terrorist attacks.
Both sides will share two competition points and the game will not be rescheduled, Sanzaar has confirmed.
NZ Rugby announced the decision shortly after 2pm on Saturday after NZ Rugby's chief rugby officer Nigel Cass said detailed discussions with both teams indicated an overwhelming desire to "send a message that they abhor" the violent attacks that took place at two Christchurch mosques on Friday.
While NZ Rugby wanted to resist a knee jerk cancellation and there were discussions as how to best show their respect to the victims, Cass said the decision to call off the game was the right thing to do.
"After consulting widely with both teams and key stakeholders, New Zealand Rugby has decided to cancel this evening's match," Cass said.
"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."
* TJ Perenara puts game in perspective
* Forty nine dead in Christchurch mosque shootings
* Shootings a game-changer for NZ sport security
* Black Caps test cancelled after Christchurch shootings
In a statement Crusaders CEO Colin Mansbridge 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 wreaked 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 had been expecting a crowd of more than 20,000 for the game on Saturday.
*Comments on this article have now closed.