CHRISTCHURCH WILL will no longer be a venue for Rugby World Cup games this autumn following the earthquake in the city.
The AMI Stadium – or Stadium Christchurch as it would have been called during the tournament – requires extensive repairs following last month’s earthquake and it’s not known how long they will take. Coupled with the damage to infrastructure in the city – hotels, transport links and so on, Rugby World Cup Ltd took the decision to move games elsewhere in New Zealand.
The two quarter-finals already due to take place in Christchurch have been switched to Eden Park in Auckland while the five pool games scheduled to be held there will be moved to other stadiums around the country, although it has not been decided where yet.
“We know Cantabrians are passionate about Rugby and we know that many wanted the matches to remain as a way to unite and heal their shattered city,” said RNZ 2011 Chairman Brian Roche.
“However, we needed to weigh up the risks of continuing with matches in Christchurch with just 25 weeks until the world’s third largest sporting event kicks off. Sadly, we collectively agreed the risks were too great. The timeframes for repairs were too tight, the uncertainty too much.”
NZRU chief executive Steve Tew added: “Our hearts go out to Canterbury fans given the inevitable disappointment this decision will cause for many.
“Tournament partners are looking into a number of initiatives that will give Cantabrians a chance to be part of our Stadium of Four Million. We still want them to play a part in hosting a successful Tournament and to share in the excitement of this event.”
Any supporters who have purchased tickets for games in Christchurch will be offered a full refund or tickets to the rearranged matches. For further information on this, please click here.