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Months until Wallabies know World Cup home

02/03/2011 04:55:49 PM Comments (0)

It could be months until the Wallabies know where their Rugby World Cup base will be, with Christchurch needing time to prove it's a suitable host city.

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key says it will take months rather than weeks to decide whether or not to host seven scheduled Cup matches in earthquake-devastated Christchurch.

Key says his "strong preference" is to proceed as planned because "it sends a very strong international message that Christchurch is going through a rebuilding phase, and equally, if we don't, sadly the message is it's not".

The Wallabies plan to base themselves in the Canterbury capital during the pool stages of the tournament, starting on September 9, staying at the Millennium Hotel in Cathedral Square for a total of 19 days.

Australian coach Robbie Deans said last week there were no early thoughts of changing those plans and Christchurch mayor Bob Parker stressed the city was desperate to fulfil its World Cup commitments.

Authorities have predicted it will take months to get essential services back to normal after last week's 6.3 magnitude earthquake, which destroyed downtown parts of the city and has claimed at least 159 lives.

Key said cruise ships could be used to accommodate fans if there wasn't enough hotel accommodation.

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