'Bigger than rugby' - Crusaders Kieran Read, Sam Whitelock weigh in on potential name change after Christchurch attack

Kieran Read and Sam Whitelock along with coach Scott Robertson have weighed in on the debate to rename the Canterbury Super Rugby club after Friday's terror attacks in Christchurch in which 50 people were killed in shootings at two mosques.

The name has come under scrutiny due to it's link to the Crusades 1000 years ago which included wars between Christians and Muslims that resulted in approximately two million deaths.

The trio say they acknowledge there needs to be a discussion but now isn't the time.

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CEO Colin Mansbridge says that his organisation are listening to concerns. Source: 1 NEWS

"I think at the moment this is much bigger than rugby," Whitelock said in a video on the team's social media.

"We are just trying to make sure we take the appropriate time and make sure we are respectful and those decisions will happen in time.

"But at the moment we are just trying to give everyone space where they need it and those things will happen in the future when it is most appropriate."

Minister of Sport and Recreation Grant Robertson agreed conversations around a name change are "a responsible action".

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The Sport and Recreation Minister spoke about the possibility of renaming the team. Source: 1 NEWS

It's a stance the Crusaders coach aligns with too.

"[We] just want to do the right thing and there's a consultation process that will go on," Robertson said.

"We're a rugby club, that's what we do, we play rugby.

"The association of the name, we want to go through a process, we want to let people grieve, we want to make sure they've got time, and we'll go to the people that can represent them and get the information we need to make a great decision and do the right thing."