Credit / Sky Sports
Chiefs and Hurricanes teams and supporters have joined in honouring the memory of Australian and New Zealand service personnel who gave their lives for their nations before Friday night's Super Rugby Aotearoa game in Hamilton.
The opening match of ANZAC weekend between the Waikato and Wellington sides featured the traditional reading of the Ode of Remembrance in te reo Māori by Cadet Hayley Blackmore and in English by Hamilton RSA president Ross Bresden.
Cadet Hayley Blackmore. Credit / Sky Sports
The Last Post rang out to hushed tones throughout FMG stadium, followed by a moment's silence and The Reveille to mark the Anzac Day commemorations.
Local school students also performed a haka in the stands as the game was about to get underway.
Credit / Sky Sports
The Crusaders and Blues will have a similar ANZAC tribute before their game in Christchurch on Sunday afternoon, as Super Rugby teams on both sides of the Tasman mark the occasion and reflect the ANZAC spirit between the two nations.
ANZAC SPIRIT | Super Rugby players in Aotearoa and across the ditch in Australia are gearing up for a huge weekend of Anzac matches and they're also getting excited about Super Rugby Trans-Tasman which is just around the corner. 🇳🇿🇦🇺 pic.twitter.com/X4iU0jW2eI— Super Rugby (@SuperRugbyNZ) April 21, 2021
Earlier this week, Australia's Western Force (who made history last night booking their first-ever Super Rugby 'final' appearance with a 30-27 win over the Queensland Reds) revealed their special ANZAC round jersey.
The Western Force is proud to reveal our Anzac Round jersey to be worn in Friday night’s clash with the Reds at HBF Park.— Western Force (@westernforce) April 21, 2021
Read the full article including all the details regarding the special Anzac Round event here ➡️ https://t.co/6i61fFVv0h
New Zealand Rugby's Chris Lendrum said it was important to acknowledge the sacrifice of the original ANZAC corps as well as present-day servicemen and women who keep New Zealand communities safe.
“Although the years pass, we never forget the 13 All Blacks and 150 first-class rugby players who made the ultimate sacrifice and it means a lot for our players to have the chance to honour and remember them every year," he said.
“This year Covid-19 has provided a reminder of how precious our freedoms are and the importance of those who serve and sacrifice for our communities on a daily basis. It’s worth pausing to acknowledge these current heroes as well as those of the past.”
The Chiefs won Friday's thriller against the Hurricanes 26-24 after Damian McKenzie kicked another match-winning penalty to make it five-in-a-row for the Waikato side.