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Sonny Bill Williams to sit out Highlanders match

Sonny Bill Williams will miss the Blues' game with the Highlanders on Friday to head to Christchurch in the wake of last week's shootings.

Blues inside centre Sonny Bill Williams will miss Friday's clash with the Highlanders in Auckland to spend time in Christchurch in the wake of last week's shootings.

Williams will be in Christchurch, helping to raise money for the victims and their families and to aid those affected by the tragedy.

A devout Muslim, Williams has been vocal in his support for the city of Christchurch and expressed his sadness at the attacks, which left 50 people dead and many more injured.

The 33-year-old has teamed up with charity Muslims Around the World (MATW), a not-for-profit that helps disadvantaged Muslims across the globe.

Williams posted an emotional video to twitter on Friday after the attacks, expressing his support for those impacted.

"(I'm) sending out my duas to everyone that's been killed today in guys are all in paradise," he said. "I'm just deeply, deeply saddened this would happen in New Zealand."

The impact of the news is still being felt across the country, with the Blues reportedly cancelling their Monday media session in the aftermath of the shootings.

Williams' absence for the Highlanders clash will count as one of his mandatory All Blacks stand down weeks, with all New Zealand Test players needing to rest for two games ahead of the Rugby World Cup in Japan later this year.

The Blues have an obvious replacement for Williams in Ma'a Nonu, the former All Black who last played in the defeat to the Jaguares in Buenos Aires on March 3.

Last Saturday's clash between the Highlanders and Crusaders in Dunedin was cancelled because of the attacks but the Crusaders will return to Super Rugby action against the Waratahs on Saturday.

The Waratahs will hold a minute's silence before the game on Saturday to acknowledge the victims of the attack.

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