Super Rugby

Crusaders open to name change




Super rugby’s most successful team and current back to back champions the Crusaders have issued a statement saying that they are open to changing their name.

The statement comes after Friday’s attacks in the team’s home town of Christchurch and since then concerns have been raised over the team’s name which has associations with medieval religious wars between Christians and Muslims.

The Canterbury based team adopted the team name 23 years ago and have won a record nine Super Rugby titles.

“The first thing for us is things are still fairly raw,” Chief executive Colin Mansbridge told TVNZ yesterday.

“We’re in a state of shock. We’ll acknowledge the feedback we’ve had. It is appropriate. In the context of what’s happened, it is pretty hard to sort of elevate this conversation at the moment. We’ve heard it and we do want to have a conversation about it.”

“In a statement Mansbridge said: “Like all New Zealanders, the Crusaders team and organisation are deeply shocked by this tragedy and our thoughts are with the victims and their families. This is bigger than rugby and we’re absolutely heartbroken for our wider community, which is where our thoughts are.”

“In terms of the Crusaders name, we understand the concerns that have been raised. For us, the Crusaders name is a reflection of the crusading spirit of this community. What we stand for is the opposite of what happened in Christchurch on Friday; our crusade is one for peace, unity, inclusiveness and community spirit.”

“In our view, this is a conversation that we should have and we are taking on board all of the feedback that we are receiving, however, we also believe that the time for that is not right now. Emotions are very raw and real at the moment. There is the need for this community to wrap our support around those who are most affected by Friday’s events, and that is the immediate focus for the Crusaders team.”

“At an appropriate time, we will thoroughly consider the issues that have been raised and our response to that. That will include conversations with a range of people, including our Muslim community.”

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