You might notice something a little bit different in our game against the Crusaders on Friday night, as players from both sides look to celebrate difference and send a message of inclusivity on and off the rugby field.
New Zealand Super Rugby teams have swapped laces with members of their local communities to wear in this Friday and Saturday’s games. The coloured laces celebrate difference and send a message of inclusivity as part of the #rugbyforeveryone campaign.
Blues players will be swapping their laces with children at Starship Hospital and Gladstone Primary School, as part of the campaign which targets people who aren’t traditionally involved in rugby and encourages everyone – regardless of their gender, ethnicity, sexuality or playing ability – to join in.
It will run across social media and includes on-field promotion at our matches against the Crusaders at AMI Stadium in Christchurch, as well as the match between the Hurricanes and Highlanders at Westpac Stadium in Wellington on Saturday.
New Zealand Rugby general manager Neil Sorensen said rugby was aspiring to make sure it’s a sport for everyone.
“We want rugby to be inclusive of all New Zealanders no matter who they are, where they come from, what they look like, their beliefs or abilities,” he said. “There is no room for discrimination in our sport. The coloured laces are a symbolic gesture and we support anyone getting involved.
“It’s not just about playing rugby. We want people to become referees, volunteers and fans. If we want to grow our game and supporter base we need to reach out to different communities not currently involved in rugby and make it a welcoming place for them to be active.”