Christchurch matches rescheduled after quake

(RNZ 2011) Thursday 31 March 2011
 
Christchurch matches rescheduled after quake
Several teams have been affected by the changes (Credit: Getty Images)

Following an assessment of damage caused by the Christchurch earthquake, organisers have reluctantly rescheduled eight matches...

On February 22, the city of Christchurch was hit by a devastating 6.3 magnitude earthquake which caused multiple fatalities and widespread damage to the city and surrounding suburbs.

Since then, Tournament partners have conducted a thorough assessment of the damage to the match venue Stadium Christchurch and associated infrastructure such as hotels and training facilities.

Following this, the stadium operator, Vbase advised that it could not provide an absolute assurance that all necessary remedial work could be completed in time for RWC 2011. Tournament partners were forced to make the difficult decision to reallocate all seven matches to be played in Christchurch to other venues across New Zealand.

The decision was unanimously supported by Tournament owners the International Rugby Board (IRB), the New Zealand Government, the New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) and Tournament organiser Rugby New Zealand 2011 (RNZ 2011).

Over the past two weeks, organisers have been undertaking a complex reallocation process focusing on keeping as many of the matches in the South Island as possible and minimising disruption to other matches. As a result the three South Island venues, Nelson, Dunedin and Invercargill, will each pick up an additional match while the remaining two matches have been reallocated to Wellington and North Harbour. The quarter-finals of October 8 & 9 are to be played at Eden Park.

The five Christchurch pool matches have been rescheduled as follows:

Date         Pool     Time         Match               Venue                                     
Sat
Sept 10  
B
20.30
  
Argentina v
England
Otago Stadium,
Dunedin
Sun
Sept 11
C
15.30
Australia v
Italy
North Harbour Stadium,
Auckland
Sun
Sept 18
B
18.00
England v
Georgia
Otago Stadium,
Dunedin
Sun
Sept 25
B
20.30
Argentina v
Scotland
Wellington Regional Stadium,
Wellington
Sat
Oct 1
C
15.30
Australia v
Russia
Trafalgar Park,
Nelson

Operational reasons also necessitated the transfer of one existing match from Dunedin to Invercargill.

Date         Pool     Time     Match               Venue                                       
Wed
Sept 14  
B
19.30
  
Scotland v
Georgia
Rugby Park Stadium,
Invercargill

“Our desire was always to transfer as many pool matches to South Island venues as was reasonably possible. At the same time we were conscious that time was pressing with just 23 weeks before the world’s third largest sporting event kicks-off so we also aimed to minimise disruptions to ensure as few teams and their supporters were affected as possible,” said RNZ 2011 CEO Martin Snedden.

While Christchurch will no longer host any RWC 2011 matches, the region is still a vital part of the Stadium of Four Million and opportunities are being investigated into the role that Christchurch will have in the overall Tournament experience.

Last week the NZRU announced that the All Blacks would spend five days training in Christchurch in the build-up to their decisive RWC 2011 Pool A encounter with France. The Australian team will also spend time in the region by selecting Hanmer Springs in North Canterbury as a training base for four nights.

“This has been a hard decision for all involved, given the place of Canterbury in New Zealand Rugby and the tremendous enthusiasm and support that the people of Christchurch have displayed for RWC 2011,” said IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset. “The thoughts of the global Rugby family continue to be with the people of Christchurch and everyone affected as they focus on the city’s rebuilding process and repair of key public services and facilities.”

Ticket purchasers for all Christchurch matches and/or the Scotland v Georgia match will receive a refund and the opportunity to secure replacement tickets to the relevant rescheduled matches during a priority purchase period in May. For further ticketing information, please click here.