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Crusaders to retain name but change logo after review

Super Rugby’s most successful franchise, the Canterbury Crusaders will retain their famous name after conducting an extensive review of their brand identity in the wake of the mosque shootings in March 2019.

The origin of the Crusaders review

On 15 March 2019 a gunman began a shooting spree at the Al Noor Mosque in the Christchurch suburb of Riccarton and continued at the Linwood Islamic Centre. 28-year-old Brenton Tarrant has been charged with 51 counts of murder, 40 counts of attempted murder and one count of engaging in a terrorist act.

Media reports have linked the attacks to alt-right beliefs including Islamophobia. With the attacks taking place in the hometown of the Crusaders their name, taken from the series of religious wars in western Asia and Europe initiated, supported and sometimes directed by the Roman Catholic Church between the 11th and the 17th century.

Immediately after the killings, the Crusaders stopped the parade of chain-mailed knights on horseback as pre-match entertainment at home games. At the time the franchise announced they would be phasing out the team logo of a sword-wielding crusader.

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The Crusader horses perform at the start of the Super 15 rugby union match between the Canterbury Crusaders and the Sharks at AMI Stadium in Christchurch on May 17, 2014. AFP PHOTO / MARTY MELVILLE (Photo credit: Marty Melville/AFP via Getty Images)

There was resistance among fans to changing the name of the most successful Super Rugby side, with a record tally of 10 titles, three of them won in the past three years under Scott Robertson.

The club said the review released Friday concluded that the name would stay, but that it would adopt the meaning of crusading for good, rather than the war-like meaning of the term.

The new logo is a Maori tohu. A symbol resembling a stylised letter ‘C’ in the club colours of red and black.

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CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND – NOVEMBER 29: The new Crusaders logo is seen following a Crusaders Super Rugby Media Announcement at Rugby Park on November 29, 2019 in Christchurch, New Zealand. Following the Christchurch Mosque attacks, the Crusaders presented their new logo as part of a brand review. (Photo by Kai Schwoerer/Getty Images)

“Ultimately, it was decided that no name better represented the club’s commitment to living its values — crusading for social improvement and inclusiveness, and crusading with heart for our community and for each other — than Crusaders,” chief executive Colin Mansbridge said.

The club will begin using the new logo immediately, but it won’t feature on playing kits and replica jerseys until 2021. The Crusaders 2020 kits will carry the club’s name without any other logo.

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