Crusaders chief executive Colin Mansbridge says the debate around the future of the club's name and branding has the playing group rattled.

The debate arose after the Christchurch mosque shootings in March during which 50 people were killed in a racially-charged massacre. It brought to light the fact the Crusaders was the name given to the medieval Christian knights who fought to take land from Muslim rule.

Mansbridge said it would be hard for those involved with the club not to be rattled by the debate around the team's name.

The medieval knight is one of two definitions of the word, with the other begin someone who campaigns for change.


"I think it would be unfair to say that they're [Crusaders players] not rattled ... some of these things can be a bit rattling," Masbridge said.

"The Crusaders that we all stand for – the organisation that I've recently joined but I've felt connected to from when I was taking my kids there 20 years ago – that Crusaders is the second definition of the word.

"It's somebody who is doing something for good, galvanising the community for good and trying to do good things.

"What's important for us is that we continue to represent our community by continuing to play the best rugby we possibly can."

New Zealand Rugby this week addressed the discussion around the team's name, revealing they believed maintaining the name as well as the imagery associated with it was "no longer tenable."

The club's marketing over the past 23 years has incorporated the pageantry of knights and horsemen, and included symbols such as swords and banners.

"In the wake of the Christchurch attacks, it is apparent that the symbolism the club has used, combined with the 'Crusaders' name, is offensive to some in the community due to its association with the religious Crusades between Christians and Muslims," NZ Rugby boss Steve Tew said.

"One thing that has become very clear in the last two weeks is that there are divided opinions on the best way forward for the brand. We understand and appreciate the passionate feedback that we are receiving on both sides of the conversation, and at this stage we are committed to keeping an open mind until the independent research has been done."


The Crusaders will engage independent research company Research First to seek feedback on the team's current moniker and provide its recommendations on if the team should move forward with a name change.

"We are asking Research First to look into two possible options moving forward - retaining the 'Crusaders' name but changing the branding and associated imagery; or undertaking a complete rebranding, including the name and all imagery," Tew said.

"Maintaining the status quo in terms of the Crusaders name along with the current imagery of knights on horseback is, in our view, no longer tenable because of the association with the religious Crusades that has now been drawn. That is therefore not one of the options that we will be considering."