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Coutts comeback to Team NZ could be on the cards

PUBLISHED: 6:56PM Sunday September 29, 2013 Source: ONE News

Sir Russell Coutts heading home (Source: ONE News)

Sir Russell Coutts is heading home to New Zealand shores and there are reports he will not rule out a return to Team New Zealand.

The top yachtsman led the team to victory in 1995 and 2000 before heading offshore, and most recently helped mastermind the Oracle Team USA win in San Francisco.

Coutts is synonymous with America's Cup wins, both for Team New Zealand and overseas syndicates. He was derided by Kiwis when he moved to Swiss syndicate Alinghi which won the America's Cup from New Zealand in 2003.

Now Coutts is returning home and he told ONE News this week he is unsure what he'll do next.

The Oracle chief executive said on Thursday he couldn't imagine another America's Cup regatta without a Team New Zealand entry.

"There might be some changes in Team New Zealand but it's clearly a team that does a lot of good for the country," Coutts said.

There are reports he won't rule out a return to the team.

The Sunday Star Times reports that when the newspaper asked him about a return to Team New Zealand, the Oracle Team USA CEO said it remained firmly on the table.

Coutts told the paper it would be "a ridiculous decision" for Team NZ not to compete in future and added he was taking some time to think about what he's going to do next.

ONE News today asked people at the Auckland On Water Boat Show should there be another challenge and would the fans want him back.

The response was mixed.

"I've got no animosity. If he came back to use I'd welcome him with open arms," one man said.

Another said: "I don't think he's done any justice to this country. Leave him where he is."

Another replied: "He's a winning America's Cup person. He's never lost it, so why wouldn't you have him back?"

But another man was firmly opposed to a Coutts comeback, saying: "The cheating ex is basically what I think of Russell Coutts."

Red ribbon welcome

Meanwhile, some members of Team New Zealand return tomorrow and one Auckland resident has come up with a way for locals to show their support.

Supporter Rowena Post has been trying red ribbons on her car and trees.

"I so couldn't stand for them to feel that they were going to be anything other than welcomed And I remembered that old song from back in the '70s Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Old Oak Tree.

"And I thought tie a red sock around the Pohutakawa tree. Or a red ribbon or a red cloth or something."

The idea has been slowly gaining support through a Facebook page.

Charlotte MacKenzie says she has put red ribbons, socks and balloons on her letterbox in support of Team New Zealand.

It's a red carpet welcome - of sorts.

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