Christchurch Earthquake Puts RWC Games in Doubt

February 23, 2011

After the tragic events of the earthquake in Christchurch yesterday, anesthetist February 22, that killed at least 75 people, the region’s leading rugby official claimed that the city may not be able to host its 2011 Rugby World Cup matches.

Hamish Riach, chief executive officer of the Canterbury Rugby Football Union, told Television New Zealand: “Right now it doesn’t feel like we could host very much at all,” adding that it was too early to be sure of the impact on the tournament because “everyone is in the immediacy of this traumatic event.”

Christchurch is set to stage the second highest number of games, seven at the AMI Stadium during the Sept. 9-Oct. 23 event, including two quarterfinals, while only Auckland, with nine, is scheduled to host more matches.

Rugby New Zealand 2011 CEO Martin Snedden said in an e-mailed statement: “A detailed evaluation of this nature will take place as soon as is reasonably possible. We are mindful of the pressure the people of Christchurch are under right now and do not want to place any more demands on them.”

Snedden went on to allay fears that the entire event is in jeopardy or that matches will be shifted to Australia, stating: “Rest assured, RWC 2011 will proceed and all matches will take place in New Zealand.”