Crusaders name ‘No longer tenable’

I have always not like the name ‘Crusaders’ for a modern sports team. I never thought it appropriate.neither would names like Mongols or Huns or Kmer Rouge.

Now, in the wake of the Christchurch mosque attacks, the team business owners say that the name is ‘no longer tenable’.

It’s probably not practical to change the name this season, but it should be replaced by next year.

ODT:  ‘No longer tenable’: NZR boss says Crusaders set for change

The Crusaders have announced that they will be considering a change to their name and branding following the Christchurch terrorist attacks on 15 March – and that the status quo is ‘no longer tenable’.

The Christchurch-based Super Rugby franchise announced today that they will engage independent research company, Research First, to seek feedback and provide recommendations on the Crusaders team name and brand.

Crusaders CEO Colin Mansbridge said they are committed to taking the process seriously and doing the right thing.

“This is an event that rocked our community and brought some important issues to the fore,” Mansbridge said. “One of the contentious issues that has been brought up in the aftermath of the Christchurch attacks is the name of our rugby team – the Crusaders.

“Because of our desire to be the best we can be and to support our community, we are treating the question around the appropriateness of our brand extremely seriously.

We are committed to undertaking a thorough process, taking into account all relevant opinions and, most importantly, we are committed to doing the right thing.”

When the first year of Super Rugby kicked off in 1996, the Crusaders title was chosen for the side representing the provincial unions from the top half of the South Island and the brand was built on a stylised version of medieval England, in a nod to the English heritage of Christchurch.

I think it was poorly chosen, and should go.

Crusaders win Super final

The Crusaders travelled to South Africa and defeated the Lions in the Super Rugby final.

(Someone mentioned this earlier but I was avoiding it as much as possible, I have just been able to watch it).

The Lions started well but lost the ball hard on attack and the Crusaders opened the score with a try at the other end.

The Crusaders then applied pressure and eventually got another try to open a handy lead.

A Lions player was red carded after a Crusader had a dangerous fall after jumping to catch a kick, unfortunate but the only option to the referee.

The Crusaders gradually stretched their lead, and while the Lions came back with two tries the Crusaders defence was too good for them to get close.

The Lions were unbeaten all season until the final, beating the Hurricanes last week in the semi.

The Crusaders were the other dominant team. The Hurricanes beat them in the final round, and the Highlanders went very close twice, but the Crusaders were just too good through the season and in the final.

Lions beat Crusaders

The British and Irush Lions beat the Crusaders in Christchurch tonight, 12-3, all penalties.

Tough for the Crusaders to lose their first game this season, and unusual for them to be kept tryless, but they were outscored and outplayed. The Crusaders were claiming the game as a virtual test, but they weren’t up to it.

This is a good result for the Lions obviously, but an even better result for their tour. It’s a tough one for them but each game will be tough for their opponents.

This result signals that it is game on for the test series. That’s good for the game.


What’s going on with the Crusaders?

After seeming to dominate the Super 15 (and it’s lesser teamed versions) for just about forever the Crusaders seem to have lost their mojo.

They have at least lost their last two games, both played in Christchurch. The Highlanders bettered them last week and the Chiefs cleaned them up last night 26 points to 9. Three tries to none. A comprehensive beating.

They are not short of big name players. The Highlanders team last week had three All Blacks.

The named Crusaders team for last night’s game had four current All Black forwards: Wyatt Crockett, Sam Whitelock, Richie McCaw, Kieran Read

And four current or past All Black backs: Andy Ellis, Colin Slade, Dan Carter, Israel Dagg

Plus another four past or current All B lacks in the reserves: Joe Moody, Owen Franks, Tom Taylor, Matt Todd (just)

So they are not short of experience and talent. Are they getting jaded? This might be a problem for the All Blacks in a world cup year.

There must be some concern about Todd Blackadder’s coaching. While they still have talent to burn it looks like the Crusaders are burning out.

They have been close but nor top since Blackadder took over – 4th, 4th, 2nd, 4th, 4th and 2nd last year losing to the Waratahs in the final.

There’s still plenty of season left and below the top two (Chiefs and Hurricanes) the table is close but currently the Crusaders are 8th but on equal points with 9th and two ahead of the Waratahs who have played two fewer games.

But the way the Crusaders are playing at the moment they don’t look like serious contenders. Even The Press is sounding warning bells, Richard Knowler:

That cracking sound the Crusaders can hear is the ice breaking under their feet.

Their 26-9 loss to the Chiefs at AMI Stadium on Friday night leaves the seven-time Super Rugby champions in a state of anxiety as they remain locked out of the top-six – they are eighth – and in a position where the chance to control their own destiny is fast slipping through their fingers.

While the Chiefs, who scored tries via Michael Leitch, James Lowe and Liam Squire, have shot to the top of the log, the Crusaders – who were left try-less – have been left with a grubby four-five record at the midpoint of their season.

They must now embark on a long unbeaten streak to charge back into finals contention. But the problem is, judging from this performance, it looks improbable.

And Captain Kieran Read doesn’t sound confident:

Following his side’s 26-9 shellacking by the Chiefs on Friday night, Crusaders captain Read accepts there will be plenty of mud thrown at his men and he says their only option is to man-up, cop it sweet and try and fight back.

Try and fight back? That sounds far from confident.

For the first time in his career Read has been forced to publicly back coach Todd Blackadder and his assistants; they must have been stunned by the way the Chiefs were able to repeatedly nullify their attack, put their lineout under pressure and feast on their errors and there will be no hiding from the fallout following this try-less performance.

“They can get it on track,” Read said in reference to coaches. “These guys have been doing it for a number of years and have got us into the finals every year and into the final last year, when we had a crack at winning this thing.

A certain amount is up to the coaches, but senior players in particular should take responsibility for getting it back on track.

“The personnel hasn’t changed. We just need to get back to what we do really well and back our abilities.”

Read is a supurb player but this sounds concerning from someone suggested as the next All Black captain. He doesn’t sound like a leader.

And the Crusaders are far from leading the Super 15. They seem to be headed backwards, without strong leadership.