Wallabies Cup base hinges on report - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Wallabies Cup base hinges on report

Tamara McLean, AAP New Zealand Correspondent 08/03/2011 11:34:15 AM Comments (0)

The Wallabies will be one step closer to finalising their Rugby World Cup base following the release of a report on Christchurch's earthquake-damaged stadium later this week.

The engineering report due in coming days will dictate whether New Zealand's second largest city, hit with a deadly 6.3-magnitude earthquake a fortnight ago, is able to play host at the games.

More than 200 died in the disaster, which destroyed the picturesque Christchurch CBD, damaged 100,000 homes and businesses and brought the city to a standstill.

The Canterbury capital is earmarked to host five pool matches and two quarter-finals in the tournament, and provide a base for the Wallabies for almost three weeks.

However, the stadium suffered in the February 22 quake, with structural damage to at least two stands and "significant" liquefaction damage to the playing surface.

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said the International Rugby Board would ultimately decide if Christchurch could retain its hosting rights, but if the stadium could be repaired in time, the problem would be mostly solved.

"Yes, we need to deal with accommodation issues and we need to deal with bars and restaurants and the like - I think we can address those issues," Mr Key told journalists in Wellington.

"But we can't do that unless we have a stadium that gets the tick-off."

He said there would not be a clear answer for a couple of weeks.

Meanwhile, stadium management Vbase told the New Zealand Herald that the results of an engineering assessment would be publicly released later this week or early next week.

"It's important to do the detailed work, so we are dealing with facts rather than speculation," Vbase chief executive Bryan Pearson told the newspaper.

It was clear, however, that two stands and the playing surface had been substantially damaged and would take several months to rebuild.

Rugby World Cup Ltd has confirmed that all 48 matches will be hosted in New Zealand but said it would not speculate on Christchurch's ability to host the event until an "extensive review and assessment" was completed.

This could take several weeks, it said.

"It is clear there has been damage to Stadium Christchurch, accommodation and other infrastructure," it said in a statement.

"However no decision will be taken about the RWC 2011 matches scheduled to be held in Christchurch until accurate and confirmed information has been received and analysed following the completion of the currently ongoing full assessment."

Australian coach Robbie Deans has said there were no plans to change the team's base at this stage.

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