Twickenham boost for quake-hit fans - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Twickenham boost for quake-hit fans

22/03/2011 05:13:07 PM Comments (0)

All Blacks and Crusaders star Dan Carter says he has found that the best way he can help quake-damaged Christchurch is by getting back on to the rugby pitch.

He hopes that enough revenue can be generated from the Crusaders' history-making rescheduled Super 15 match against the Sharks at Twickenham in London on Monday (AEDT) to make playing their other home fixtures in towns such as Nelson or Timaru affordable.

"This is a time when it is important we play our home games in front of our own people," Carter told The Telegraph in London. "Especially now the World Cup won't be coming to Christchurch".

Carter said he and five teammates were in changing rooms beneath the old grandstand at the club's Rugby Park base when the 6.3 magnitude quake aftershock killed 182 people in his hometown a month ago.

"I was going to take a shower when, suddenly, there was violent shaking and we just had to get out there as fast as we could," he said. "You don't have time to think but as we tried to get out of the grandstand, it was being shaken from wall to wall, throwing us from side to side and our hands and elbows got grazed.

"It was only when I jumped into the car that I realised the extent of the devastation. It's something I'll never forget; the shock on people's faces, all the traffic lights out, water gushing out in the streets, cracks in the road, traffic jams."

He described it as "pretty scary" and a "crazy, disturbing" time.

Carter said his own home was damaged, but he only realised the full extent of the disaster when he went to his parents' place in Southbridge, 48km south of Christchurch.

"I flicked on TV there and saw the devastating damage. Unbelievable. Then I realised we were the lucky ones."

One of the Crusaders' board members, Philip McDonald, died, and Carter said his fiancee, Honor Dillon, a former Black Sticks hockey player, was "pretty cut-up" because a hockey friend had been killed in the Pyne Gould Corporation building.

Amanda Hooper, 30, of Rolleston, died while working for finance company Marac on the second floor of the building.

Carter told the Telegraph that amid the chaos, he had felt a responsibility as his nation's most popular sportsman to do something, anything, to help: "But I wasn't sure how; I felt a bit powerless".

The day after the quake he helped clear up silt and sand and deliver water to people.

"As All Blacks, we are kind of held on a pedestal here in a nation of rugby fanatics. So you've got to make sure people know that you're just like everybody else, you're just human, going through the same emotional roller-coaster. Just because you're an All Black doesn't mean you're not going to get your hands dirty to help out when needed.

"Actually, it was really rewarding. I didn't know my neighbours that well, now I do because we've been working so closely together on a big clean-up."

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