New Zealand and Australia huddle in honour of Christchurch shooting victims

By staff writer

Players from the New Zealand and Australian sevens teams formed a huddle in the middle of the pitch at the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens during a minute’s silence in honour of those killed and injured in the Christchurch mosque attacks.

The two teams ran on to the field for their Pool C clash on the opening day of the tournament without any music being played while the All Blacks Sevens wore white for the match, which they comfortably won 40-19.

This was the first New Zealand national side to be in action in any sport since the attacks on March 15 when an Australian national visited two mosques during Friday prayers and opened fire, killing 50 people and injuring another 50.

New Zealand coach Clark Laidlaw had said before the tournament that the players were aware they would be the first national team in action since the shootings and the best way to honour the victims was to play their best.

And after a close first half, the All Blacks Sevens exploded in the second period to open with a convincing win in the “group of death” that also features defending Hong Kong champions Fiji and Kenya.