Crusaders, the Christchurch-based rugby union club, has decided to retain its name for the next Super Rugby season, but change its logo following a review conducted in the wake of the terrorist attack in its home city on March 15.
The club explored a possible shift away from its established brand – deemed by some to be sensitive given the historic connotations of religious wars – after 51 people were killed as a result of the attacks at two mosques in Christchurch.
Following the independent review by Research First, as an interim measure, the club’s logo will be altered to remove the image of a knight holding a sword. In the days following the attack, Crusaders dropped the club’s knight-on-horseback mascots.
Crusaders chief executive Colin Mansbridge acknowledged that the research had uncovered “divided views” on the team name and logo, with the club set to carry out a full review on a possible rebrand in due course.
The club added: “Any changes recommended by that review will be announced by the end of 2019 and come into effect in the 2021 season.
“In the meantime, the Crusaders name will be retained for the remainder of the 2019 and 2020 seasons, but an interim change to the logo will come into effect for next season, with the removal of the knight and sword image.”
Before the decision was announced, New Zealand Rugby chairman Brent Impey had told Radio Sport that changing the name ahead of next season would have been extremely difficult.
“The reality is that Adidas have got to make jerseys, there’s merchandising and that sort of stuff,” Impey said.
“You can’t just change the name of a professional team when there are existing contracts. There’s no intention and never has been any intention that the Crusaders name would change in 2020.”