Crusaders skipper and coach say now is not the time to discuss name change after Christchurch attack

Crusaders skipper Sam Whitelock and coach Scott Robertson believe now is not the time to discuss the Canterbury Super Rugby franchise's name change, following last Friday's terror attacks in Christchurch in which 50 people were killed in shootings at two mosques.

The Crusaders' name has come under fire due to its link to the crusades 1000 years ago, which included wars between Christians and Muslims that resulted in about 2 million deaths.

Whitelock welcomed conversations around a potential name change, but said right now their priority is to support the families and communities affected by the attack.

"They are definitely conversations that need to be had," Whitelock told reporters at Christchurch airport this afternoon.

"At the moment it is hard for us as rugby players. We like to get in there and try do things straight away. It's not the right time for that.

"We need to step back as we have and give everyone space, especially the families that are affected."

Whitelock is set to play in his first Super Rugby match this season for the Crusaders against the Waratahs on Saturday in Sydney.

"It will be a good discussion with anyone that needs to have their opinions to be heard. We will address that when that time comes.

"That right time is not now, so we'll try do the right thing by everyone and that is where we sit at the moment."

Crusaders coach Robertson echoed the same feelings as Whitelock about the name change debate.

"We just want to do the right thing and there is a process to do the right thing," said Robertson.

"We're just working with all parties that are currently grieving and making sure that when the decision is made, we do the right thing for everyone."

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Sam Whitelock says they need to "give everyone space, especially the families that are affected." Source: 1 NEWS

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