Added by Tania Sullivan on March 17, 2011
Christchurch has been removed as the host for seven matches during the Rugby World Cup due to be held later this year, organisers said on Wednesday.
Christchurch, which was going to be the Wallabies’ base during the 19 days of preliminary matches, was devastated after a 6.3-magnitude earthquake on February 22.
“While today’s news is disappointing for Christchurch, having been in the city earlier in the week and able to assess the damage for myself, the decision is understandable,” said Wallabies coach Robbie Deans.
Christchurch Mayor, Tom Parker, said he was “gutted” about the decision, and added “We were looking forward to a spring that would be brightened by having the Rugby World Cup here in our city.”
Deans and Australia Rugby Union officials said they are still waiting for details regarding new venues and accommodation options, although Auckland is likely to be the new base.
The Wallabies will be playing Ireland at Auckland’s Eden Park in their second pool match on September 17. They will play the United States in Wellington the following weekend.
Test hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau said the relocation would not impact on Australia’s game, and they the team would “adapt on the run”.
Ticket-holders for Christchurch matches will be offered refunds or tickets to the relocated matches.