CAPE TOWN – Siya Kolisi says the impact of the Christchurch terror attacks is “really tough”, and that the Stormers were at one stage worried about whether Salmaan Moerat should go on tour to New Zealand.
The Stormers left Cape Town on Sunday en route to the New Zealand capital city of Wellington, where they will face the Hurricanes at the Westpac Stadium on Saturday (8.35am SA time kickoff).
Young lock Moerat was on the flight, along with another Muslim member of the Stormers squad, strength and conditioning coach Riefaat Jappie.
Christchurch was rocked to its core on Friday when a white supremacist terrorist, Australian Brenton Tarrant, entered two mosques and killed 50 people, while injuring another 50. He was subsequently arrested by the police later the same afternoon.
Police have been visible outside mosques throughout New Zealand since, and Prime Minister Jacinta Ardern said on Wednesday that the Islamic call to prayer, the athaan, will be played on state radio stations on Friday during the holy time of Jumuah, in remembrance of those who were murdered.
It is not clear yet if Moerat and Jappie will attend Friday prayers at a mosque in Wellington, and Kolisi told TVNZ on Wednesday that there were discussions held about Moerat going on tour.
“It’s really tough, because one of the senior guys in our team was worried about it,” Stormers skipper Kolisi told the TV station.
“But we will be with him at all times, so we are sure he will be safe. I know (that) the people of New Zealand will look after us.
“And like, it’s rare – I don’t think it will happen again because I know how safe it is here, how New Zealand prides itself on its safety.”
Springbok captain Kolisi said that he has not yet comprehended the impact of the attacks, and extended his condolences to the families of the victims.
“No, not at all (have I have to terms with it). I was shocked when I heard that, you know,” he said.
“This is definitely the safest country we’ve been to, so we were very shocked to hear that. We feel for the families that were affected, and ja... I really have no words to say.
“But the people of South Africa are thinking about the people of New Zealand. We will keep them in our prayers and thoughts.”@ashfakmohamed