Waratahs winger Israel Folau has been deeply affected by the Christchurch shooting. Picture: AAP
Waratahs winger Israel Folau has been deeply affected by the Christchurch shooting. Picture: AAP

Folau’s thoughts with Christchurch victims

AS a man of deep faith, Israel Folau has been strongly affected by last week's massacre in Christchurch.

Like everyone else, he hasn't been able to make any sense of the atrocity, but it's hit close to home.

His wife is a New Zealander, whose aunt lives in Christchurch, and Folau has many friends in New Zealand rugby.

On Saturday, the Waratahs will play the Crusaders, who cancelled their match against the Highlanders on the weekend as a mark of respect to the victims of the mass shooting at the two mosques.

The match against the Waratahs will be their first game since the terror attack and Folau knows it will be an sombre time for everyone with a minute's silence to be observed before kick-off.

 

"It's going to be such a big occasion for the Crusaders to come out here and play," Folau said.

"We definitely feel for the people that have lost their lives and their families and obviously it's going to be very emotional.

 

The Crusaders scraped their game against the Highlanders at the weekend as a mark of respect to those caught up in the Christchurch shootings.
The Crusaders scraped their game against the Highlanders at the weekend as a mark of respect to those caught up in the Christchurch shootings.

"Everyone has different beliefs and different followings but you just wouldn't think something like that would happen in places like New Zealand but unfortunately that's the way the world is going.

"I just hope the families and those that have lost their loved ones are really coping OK at this time."

While the tragic events in Christchurch have rendered the result of the match almost meaningless, Folau expects both teams will be able to focus their attention on the game once the whistle blows.

As the best team in Super Rugby, the Crusaders have always been a source of pride and inspiration in Christchurch so other teams instinctively raise their game against them.

"The Crusaders are obviously the number one team and have been for a number of years now so as soon as you play a top side you automatically step up and play to that level," Folau said.

Waratahs players during their loss to the Brumbies at the weekend.
Waratahs players during their loss to the Brumbies at the weekend.

The Waratahs beat the Crusaders in the 2014 Super Rugby final but have struggled so far this season, winning two and losing two of their first four matches.

The team's star players have struggled but Folau says the importance of the match with the Crusaders could be the spur to turn things around.

"As representative players within the side we'd be the first ones to put our hands up. We feel like we obviously haven't hit our straps yet and there's still a lot of improvement to come," he said.

"It's all part and parcel of how the season goes and how you play the games now we just want to try and get going again and hopefully we can do that on the weekend."

News Corp Australia


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