Kid on a Crusade: Son of a gun to fly flag
Staunch Crusaders rugby fan Heath Ingle will be tuning in to watch tonight's Super Rugby semifinal from Afghanistan.
The red and blacks are his team but he will also catch a glimpse of his son carrying a flag for the players.
As a way of including the six provincial unions that make up the Crusaders region, six rugby-playing children were chosen through the team's Facebook page.
Ingle, who works in personnel security in Afghanistan for four-month stretches, nominated his 10-year-old son, Eruera.
The Press visited the Ngati Porou family at their Spencerville home yesterday to find a Crusader-mad whanau.
Mum Jacqui Chesley-Ingle comes from Hurricanes country but soon developed an allegiance to the Crusaders.
''Heath just lives for them,'' she said.
The couple have seven children/Crusaders fans - Arihia, 21, Eraihia, 20, Grace, 15, Virginia, 13, Eruera, 10, Hinemaurea, 8, and Honour, 7.
Eruera, who is playing his first season for Christchurch Rugby Football Club under-10s, said his sisters started screaming when they found out he'd been chosen.
''I'm a bit nervous but it'll be good to be beside the players I look up to,'' he said.
Asked if he would be a Crusader one day, he said ''probably''.
Asked if he would be an All Black, the answer was, ''yeah''.
In an email to The Press, Ingle said he felt blessed his son would get ''a closer than usual view'' of the stadium, game and players.
''He rarely misses a game at AMI Stadium and like most young Crusader fans is extremely passionate about his team. I don't know how he will feel on Saturday evening, I will certainly be nervous for both him and the team.
''What a great feeling it is to take a few minutes of your own time to write a few words and then have your son enjoy the memories for a lifetime.''
The five other children representing the union provinces tonight are Will Lemon, Hayden Kerr, Jamie Hampson, Anna Casey and Connor Greig.