The world of rugby has been rocked by the recent earthquake in New Zealand, which resulted in so many lost lives in Christchurch.It’s therefore crucial that the game makes a considered and appropriate response to a natural disaster that struck the heart of one of the most committed rugby cities in the world.
I’ve been privileged to go to Christchurch a number of times, so I was stunned to watch the TV pictures of vast areas of the city reduced to rubble. Fund-raising is underway and it’s no surprise to see people from the British Isles at the centre of the operation. Rugby World will, of course, support those fund-raising efforts.
The rugby family has been quick to support one of our brothers and it was heartening to hear of All Blacks Kieran Read and Andy Ellis helping with the clean-up in the city.
Natural disasters like this put life in perspective, but clearly in the next few weeks a decision will have to be taken as to whether Christchurch is able to host the seven World Cup matches that are planned to take place this autumn. That decision is not one for us to debate, but one to be taken by those in the city itself, without pressure from the outside.
However, if Christchurch is no longer able to host the tournament I’d urge organisers not to move games to Australia. Many people believe that moving some of the tournament across the Tasman Sea is simply the easy option and we shouldn’t turn our backs on New Zealand at this time.
What the people of New Zealand need now is our support, love and friendship.
Decisions need to be made for the right reasons and with the needs of the people of Christchurch put first. Commercial realities may mean that the games are switched to Auckland and if that’s the case, we should support the decision.
This is New Zealand’s World Cup and after the recent disaster the country has suffered, the least we can do is support their desire to host the tournament in its entirety.Paul Morgan Rugby World Editor
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