Rugby: Crusaders withdraw from Hurricanes match

The Crusaders have withdrawn from their Super rugby match against the Hurricanes in Wellington this Saturday, following Christchurch's fatal earthquake.

The match has been declared a draw and the competition points will be shared evenly between the two franchises -- two points each.

The decision not to travel to Wellington this weekend was reached following discussions between the Crusaders' coaches, senior players and the Crusaders’ board, last night Crusaders chief executive Hamish Riach said.

The decision has the backing of Sanzar and the Hurricanes, in the wake of Tuesday's quake, which has so far recorded 75 confirmed deaths and 300 people missing.

"After all that has happened here in Christchurch and with so many lives affected by this event, we have decided it would not be appropriate to play a game of rugby against the Hurricanes on Saturday," Riach said.

"Our thoughts are with our families, friends and wider Crusaders' community and rugby is not a priority at the moment.

"All of the Crusaders players, team management, staff and board members have been directly affected by this terrible tragedy and it's our desire to stay here and support our families and community at this time."

NZRU chief executive Steve Tew said New Zealand rugby stood firmly behind the Crusaders and the Canterbury rugby region.

"New Zealand is dealing with an enormous human tragedy and our sympathies and thoughts are very much with the people of Christchurch at this time. We will continue to work to see how we can best support our friends and colleagues in the Crusaders and the Canterbury community over the coming weeks and months," Tew said.

Hurricanes chairman Paul Collins supported the Crusaders' decision not to play the fixture.

"We wish to extend our sympathies to everyone who has been affected by this tragedy. Our focus now will be on finding ways in which the Hurricanes franchise can support the people of Christchurch through this terrible time."

There were logistical issues thrown up by the game's cancellation, but the franchise would work hard to resolve them, he said.

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