New Zealand Rugby and the Investec Super Rugby clubs, the Blues, Chiefs, Hurricanes, Crusaders and Highlanders are encouraging fans, supporters and each other to learn the correct way to say people’s names.
With teams based in New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, Argentina and Japan and matches being played those five countries as well as Fiji and Singapore, and players hailing from a multitude of different backgrounds – Investec Super Rugby is one of the most diverse sports competitions in the world.
All five New Zealand teams are playing in New Zealand this week, and the clubs are leading the charge to help people feel brave – and safe enough – to have a go at pronouncing some of the more difficult names – and some of the most commonly mispronounced names – among the New Zealand teams.
“We’ve recognized pronouncing names can be challenging and have recently begun providing media and commentators with phonetic spelling of our team as a means of assisting them.” said Blues CEO Michael Redman.
New Zealand Rugby Head of Professional Rugby Chris Lendrum said: “This week we’re taking a small step in celebrating how varied and different our back stories might be.
“Players from each of the clubs have been sharing with us and their fans exactly how their names should be pronounced – and they’ve also shared some of the most common mistakes when people mispronounce.
“Players, and many of their families have told us, that it’s okay to get it wrong, and they applaud people for making a real effort to get it right,” he said.
New Zealand Rugby and the super clubs will this week release a video featuring players explaining the correct way to say their names, including examples of some surprising corrections to name pronunciations.
Teams will help fans get their tongues around their playing 23 this week, with various guides to help them get the names right.