All Blacks forward Ardie Savea has hailed Campbell Johnstone’s spirit of coming off injured.
Ardie Savea praised Campbell Johnstone’s bravery after the former New Zealand prop came out as the first All Black.
Savea, captain of the All Blacks squad, said Johnstone’s message took “a lot of courage” and he believed he was paving the way for others, including now active rugby players.
If running All Black was going to come across as gay, Savea was confident that they would accept a group of players regardless of sexuality.
“We’re all about togetherness. That’s if you’re Samoan; [a] Pacific [Islander]you’re gay or you’re straight, you’re accepted and loved,” Savea said.
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“My belief is that you love everyone, no matter who you are. You accept it in this day and age. In this society, a lot of people now accept that.”
Former Crusader and Archbishop Johnstone scored three tries for the All Blacks in 2005.
He revealed publicly that he was delighted in an interview with TVNZ’s Seven Sharp on Monday night in a strong bid to “open that door and magically make the room disappear”.
Savea said Johnstone was a trailblazer for men’s rugby in New Zealand.
The star loose forward joins a host of leading rugby identities who have thrown their support behind Johnstone in the wake of Monday’s announcement, including All Blacks Brad Weber and Black Ferns star Ruby Tui.
“It takes a lot of courage. A lot of courage,” Savea said.
“Especially in rugby circles and the way it used to be, it’s hard to be old traditions.
“I think it’s pretty bold for anyone to come out and it’s awesome.
“I know the doubts that were in his head, and he probably doesn’t know how many people what he did helped. Big ups to him.”
No All Black has ever publicly shown himself to be happy in his playing career.
But Savea said the onus is not just on all Blacks, but the public in general to create safe environments where people are more comfortable being themselves.
“Our mission is to make communities so that they can accept anyone and everyone. This is not only in those who feel comfortable [enough to come out]There is space around the ad [make them] safe “