All Blacks and Chiefs prop Angus Ta avao have shown their support for the LGBT community in the Super Rugby Saturday match between chiefs and lions.
Avao was playing rainbow shoelaces on his sports match shoes at Waikato Stadium, a week after Wallabies and Star Waratahs Israel Folau landed in hot water for an anti-gay social media statement.
Folau has been fighting for his career after Rugby Australia reported a violation this week, trying to end the $ 4 million contract.
Thirty-year-old was urged to call "drunks, homosexuals, adulterers, liars, fornicators, thieves, atheists, and idolaters" to repent for their sins, otherwise "hell" is expected.
His statements have been criticized by many in the rugby community, with Tao now using his LGBT community support platform.
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Avao, who played three tests for New Zealand last year, is not the only All Black to comment on this issue.
The one-time All Blacks halfback Brad Weber also wore rainbow laces on one shoe and black lacing on the other in a clash against the Lions, which the South African side won 23-17.
Several Chiefs players wore rainbow laces in April last year, in response to previous anti-gay comments from Folau, while all blacks also wore rainbow laces against Italy in November, uniting forces with other international rugby teams as a public statement of support for LGBT communities .
Former Welsh captain Gareth Thomas was the victim of a homophobic attack in Cardiff in November and called on national rugby teams in France, Wales and England to put gifts in rainbow colors.
Thomas, who played 103 tests for Wales and the British and Irish lions before announcing that he was gay in 2009, appeared with blue faces in a video posted on Twitter earlier this week and said he was focused on his sexuality in attack.
It prompted a show of support from international parties, including the All Blacks.
"It's a showcase of solidarity in world rugby and from us here as New Zealanders and all blacks to show support to this community," said Captain All Blacks Kieran Read.
This article first appeared on the NZ Herald and was reproduced with permission