'These are tough times there but we're on that flight‚' says Stormers coach Robbie Fleck ahead of New Zealand trip

16 March 2019 - 11:44
By Craig Ray
Stormers head coach Robbie Fleck.
Image: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix Stormers head coach Robbie Fleck.

The Stormers will travel to New Zealand on Sunday to fulfil their Super Rugby fixtures against the Hurricanes and Blues following Friday’s horrendous attacks on two Christchurch Mosques.

It what has been described ‘a terrorist act’ by various political leaders‚ at least 49 people were gunned down and killed in two Mosques in the south island city.

The Stormers‚ who beat the Jaguares 35-8 at Newlands on Friday night‚ are scheduled to travel to New Zealand on Sunday.

They face the Hurricanes in Willington next Saturday.

Stormers lock Salmaan Moerat‚ who is expected to tour‚ is Muslim and at this stage it is unclear if there will be separate security measures put in place for the player so he can attend prayers while away.

“We have had no discussions about the security situation as yet‚” Stormers coach Robbie Fleck said.

“We are getting on that flight and if anything changes that will be relayed.

“Obviously our sympathy and well wishes go out to the people of Christchurch and New Zealand. These are tough times there‚ but we are on that flight.”

As a result of the attacks‚ South Africa‚ New Zealand‚ Australia and Argentina Rugby (SANZAAR) postponed Saturday’s clash between the Highlanders and Crusaders as a mark of respect for the victims.

“Sanzaar does not take this decision lightly‚ but after consulting widely with key stakeholders‚ the Sanzaar executive committee has taken the necessary step to cancel the scheduled fixture as a mark of respect for the events that have occurred in Christchurch‚ and in the best interests of the welfare of the players and staff of the Highlanders and Crusaders‚” said chairman Brent Impey.

Meanwhile‚ Stormers lock Eben Etzebeth will tour but will miss the opening game against the Hurricanes next weekend.

“Eben is going to be out for that first game‚’ Fleck said.

“He took a bit of a knock and failed his HIA [head impact assessment] test. It looks like he will be out of that first game.

“But he will be on tour. There are four games there and he was going to miss one game on tour anyway [due to Springbok resting protocol]. Now he does not get to choose which game he rests for. It is decided for him.”