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Campbell Johnstone becomes the first All Blacks player to come out as gay

New Zealand Rugby quickly supported Johnstone’s decision to come out as gay, praising him for having “the courage to share his story and help create a more inclusive game”.

NZR chief executive Mark Robinson said Johnstone’s “power and visibility will pave the way for others”.

“Rugby is a sport that welcomes everyone and a place where people should feel safe to be who they are. We want to be clear, no matter who you love, rugby has your back,” he said in a statement.

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New Zealand Sports Minister and former Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson, who is gay, said Johnstone’s announcement was a “big moment” and thanked him for “paving the way”.

“Now with the All Blacks another barrier has been broken. I hope it inspires future generations to be open, happy and comfortable. There is still a long way to go but this feels like a very important step,” he said on Instagram.

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The All Blacks praised his decision on Twitter, naming his national team player number 1056.

“Much love and support to All Black #1056 Campbell Johnstone for having the courage to share his story and help create a more inclusive game,” it read.