Here is the new Crusaders logo

By Te Ao - Māori News

The Crusaders are expected to announce their new logo at 2pm, but the cat is already out of the bag. An image that shows a new red and black C is one of several owned by New Zealand Rugby as part of a trademark application lodged with the Intellectual Property Office.

It comes off the back of a press conference held at noon today that has been embargoed till 2pm.

The new logo, described as 'Māori-inspired' replaces the traditional knight waving a sword that the Crusaders have worn on their chest since the team’s inception in 1996. The team had already indicated it will retain the Crusaders name for next season, and the press conference will confirm whether the name is set to stay long term.

The franchise has long maintained it was in the process of a brand review regardless of the March 15 events, in which 51 Muslim worshippers were killed at two local mosques. The Crusades were originally holy wars between Christianity and Islam in the Middle Ages, and the alleged gunman had the names of Crusaders figures in the period written on his weapons.

Crusaders CEO Colin Mainsbridge told Stuff last week:

‘It is time to evolve, whether or not March 15 happened.”

NZ Rugby and the Crusaders addressed the issue in the week after the attacks, saying that they didn’t want to make a hasty decision despite a torrent of discussion in the media and on social media. In the immediate aftermath their traditional horsemen that would circle the field waving swords above their heads were removed, only to make a return appearance at the end of the season – albeit with the swords replaced by flags.

They undertook a brand review in June, which saw recommendations made to retain the name in the 2020 season. The discussion around the name ultimately did not affect the team’s performance on field this year, with the Crusaders winning their third consecutive Super Rugby title.