New Zealand Rugby
All Blacks consider red fern for Christchurch
March 23, 2011
All Blacks hooker Keven Mealamu shows off the iconic kit with silver fern on the left breast © Getty Images
The New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) is considering a plan to turn red the famous silver fern on the All Blacks' uniform as a Rugby World Cup tribute to the Christchurch earthquake victims.
Christchurch has been stripped of its seven World Cup fixtures due to damage the city sustained in the devastating February earthquake, a further blow to its rugby-loving inhabitants.
It is considered a tragedy in itself that the city will not be a part of New Zealand's party but the All Blacks could show that Canterbury is still close to their hearts by wearing an altered kit featuring the region's traditional colour.
The idea has received mixed responses among the New Zealand rugby community, as while no one would question the need to recognise Christchurch, a change to the iconic kit would be a move away from tradition and history.
Speaking in London ahead of their relocated Super Rugby clash with the Sharks, Crusaders Keiran Read and Dan Carter were reluctant to back the ploy but both commited to whatever the NZRU decided. Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder, a former All Blacks skipper, suggested a red and black armband might be a good compromise.
All Blacks manager Darren Shand said in the New Zealand Herald: "The team, together with the NZRU, will look to pay tribute to those who lost their lives as well as the wider Christchurch community in the most appropriate way."
But New Zealand Prime Minister John Key supported the idea and Rugby World Cup minister Murray McCully said it was one of a number of possible tributes which could also incorporate tsunami-hit Japan. McCully said the final decision rests with the NZRU.
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