The Prime Minister of New Zealand, John Key has suggested that if earthquake-hit Christchurch is unable to stage games at this year’s Rugby World Cup, Auckland and Dunedin could host more matches.
Last week New Zealand Rugby World Cup Minister Murray McCully revealed that AMI Stadium in Christchurch had suffered significant damage in the February 22 disaster, while the city’s infrastructure has been devastated by the last month’s disaster.
The decision on Christchurch’s involvement in this year’s competition will be taken by the International Rugby Board (IRB).
Key told The Press that no decisions have been made, despite reports emerging over the weekend that the IRB was likely to move matches from Christchurch to Auckland, although he predicted a decision on the matter would be made “within the next 10 days if not sooner”.
Key stated: “Certainly, if we have to go to plan B there are alternatives in New Zealand. I don’t think there is any need for us to consider games outside New Zealand.”
He added: “We’ve had offers from Australia to host games, but I can’t see why that would be necessary. Quarter-finals are only being played at this point in Christchurch and Wellington so there are alternatives in both Auckland and Dunedin. Dunedin has some logistical issues in terms of accommodation issues down there but it’s still a possibility.”