Not time to talk name change: Crusaders coach

Scott Robertson. Photo: Getty Images
Scott Robertson. Photo: Getty Images
Crusaders coach Scott Robertson says it's not the moment to talk about a possible team name change in the immediate aftermath of the Christchurch mosque shootings.

Crusaders chief executive Colin Mansbridge said in a statement on Monday his organisation understood the concerns raise and said the franchise's name will be reviewed after 50 people were killed in attacks at Al Noor Mosque and the Linwood Islamic Centre.

"I think at the moment this is much bigger than rugby," Robertson said on a video posted on the Crusaders Facebook page.

"We are just trying to make sure we take the appropriate time and make sure we are respectful and those decisions will happen in time.

"But at the moment we are just trying to give everyone space where they need it and those things will happen in the future when it is most appropriate."

Crusaders captain and All Blacks veteran Sam Whitelock added his thoughts.

"At the moment this is bigger than rugby. We've just got to make sure we take the appropriate time and make sure we're being respectful.

"Those decisions will happen in time. At the moment we're just trying to give people space where they need it. Those things will happen in the future when they're most appropriate.

"We're all part of the community as well. We all live here. It is tough but the beautiful thing is we're sticking together. We're looking after friends and family and we've got to work out the best way going forward. I think we're starting to find out what is needed."

The Crusaders will return to the field on Saturday in Sydney to face the Waratahs after Saturday's clash against the Highlanders was abandoned a day after the attacks.

The side's next home game is against the Brumbies in April 6.

All Blacks captain and Crusaders number eight Kieran Read added the focus is on helping the Muslim community.

"The fact is our community is made up of so many races and religions and for us right now the biggest community that's hurting is the Muslim community, and what can we do to help them? It's hard to fathom what they're going through. For us to support them the best we can is important.

"That's the great thing about New Zealand, the fact that there is so many different races and people from different nationalities that are here. For me that diversity is what brings us so much closer together."

The nine-time Super Rugby champions have had the name since the inaugural 1996 Super 12 season but it's come under question in the wake of the attack on the Muslim community which has left 50 dead and many more traumatised.

Historically, the Crusades were a series of religious and political wars between Christians and Muslims fought in 11th and 13th centuries.

"In light of recent events in Christchurch, we have heard some comments around the Crusaders team," Mansbridge said on Monday.

"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 wide community, which is where our thoughts are.

"In terms of the Crusaders name, we understand the concerns that have been raised. Us, the Crusaders name is a reflection of the crusading sprit of the 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, the is a conversation that we should have and we are taking on board all 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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