AM Show host Mark Richardson endorses calls for Crusaders name change

News 18/03/2019

Former Blackcaps batsman and AM Show sports hot Mark Richardson has thrown his support behind the call to dump the Crusaders name from Super Rugby.

After the shooting of Muslims at two Christchurch mosques on Friday, the name adopted by the champion Canterbury-based rugby franchise has come under intense scrutiny.

Historically, the Crusaders were a medieval Christian army that waged war in the Middle East, slaughtering Muslims in their attempt to capture the Holy Land. That sentiment strikes the very nerve exposed by last week's tragedy.

On The AM Show, Richardson endorsed the call for a name change.

"When I first read that, I thought, 'for goodness sake'," he said. "But then I thought nothing is an over-reaction, when it comes to trying to make amends and be understanding.

"We're talking a national day of mourning. We want to make a heart-felt and poignant gesture towards the Islamic communities around the world.

"Rugby is so dear to our hearts in New Zealand and here is our most successful sporting franchise, you could say, ever.

"If they were to change the name in response to this, I think that would be quite an appropriate thing to do."

Crusaders chief executive Colin Mansbridge told Newshub that the change had been discussed, even before last week's incident.

"I'd be a liar if I said there hadn't been commentary and discussions, absolutely," he said.

"This organisation stands for more than what the name is. It has always stood for supporting our community, doing stuff for our community."

The Crusaders' Super Rugby clash with the Highlanders was cancelled on Saturday, with competition points shared between the southern rivals.