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Read: 'We've felt the love'

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All Blacks captain Kieran Read opens up about public support in wake of Christchurch attacks

All Blacks captain Kieran Read has opened up about the public support his Crusaders side has received in the wake of the Christchurch terrorist attacks two weeks ago.

The massacre of 50 Muslims in two mosques in Christchurch resulted in the Crusaders’ derby clash against the Highlanders the next day to be cancelled, while it still had an obvious effect on the players as they stumbled to an uncharacteristically error-laden 20-12 loss to the Waratahs in Sydney last week.

Despite the extremely negative implications that comes with such a horrific event, Read said the public outcry of support for his side had been overwhelming as they prepare to face the Hurricanes in Wellington this weekend.

“[We] obviously share emotions together. I think the guys certainly did that,” he told the New Zealand Herald.

“We’re a privileged group that play here in Christchurch. We love playing in Christchurch. It’s our hometown and I think binding together is something we can do as rugby players.

“[The public] has been very supportive. To be honest, I haven’t had to talk too much about footy. It’s about us as people.

“It’s not just us – it’s everyone in Christchurch that have gone through the things that have happened. And probably more specifically the Muslim community. So we’ve certainly felt the support and felt the love. I guess in a week’s time when we come back home hopefully we feel that.”

Read posted on his Instagram account a day after the attacks wearing a red shirt which read “Chch my heart is here”.

“To say I have had a tough 24 hours of reflection here in Christchurch is an understatement. That this hate filled atrocity has happened in our backyard is beyond words,” Read wrote in the post.

“My heart goes out to the victims and their families, our Muslim community and the people of Christchurch.

“Our nation is experiencing a great loss of innocence in the face of all that happened yesterday. Bigotry and intolerance has no place here in Aotearoa. This is not who we are. Our strength lies in our diversity and while acts such as this are orchestrated in an attempt to divide us, love and unity will always prevail.”

The Crusaders’ first match back in Christchurch since the attacks is against the Brumbies on April 6.

Watch – Kieran Read ahead of Hurricanes clash:

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All Blacks captain Kieran Read opens up about public support in wake of Christchurch attacks