World Cup games may have to be moved


Rugby:The New Zealand government have conceded Christchurch may not be able to host Rugby World Cup matches following this week’s catastrophic earthquake.

The city is scheduled to host seven World Cup matches in September, but its infrastructure and accommodation facilities were badly damaged by last Tuesday’s quake, which has so far claimed the lives of 145 people.

On Friday, New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said he was determined to ensure Christchurch hosted World Cup games, despite the many obstacles it was facing.

“Our preference is to hold the World Cup here if we can. We think it’s a powerful message for Christchurch,” Key said.

But speaking on Saturday, Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee was taking a more cautious approach, despite the fact AMI Stadium had suffered only minor damage.

“To lose the Rugby World Cup from Christchurch would be a massive blow,” Brownlee said. “I don’t want to see it happen, but we’ve got to be realistic about the prospect. This place recovered amazingly well after the September 4th earthquake (last year). But let’s not rush too far ahead of things.”

Christchurch is scheduled to host the clash between Argentina and England on September 10th before Australia play Italy the following day. Two other matches involving the Wallabies and England are due to be played at the venue, along with two finals matches.