Hopes of Christchurch hosting Rugby World Cup fading

4:47 pm on 15 March 2011

Hopes of Christchurch hosting Rugby World Cup matches appear to be fading although Prime Minister John Key will not yet rule it out.

AMI Stadium was extensively damaged in last month's earthquake and with other parts of the city still unliveable, doubts have been raised about Christchurch's ability to host the matches.

International media reports suggest the International Rugby Board (IRB) has decided to move the games.

Mr Key says he is waiting for further reports on the feasibility of the games being held in the quake-hit city.

He says the problems are not necessarily insurmountable but acknowledges there are plenty of challenges to overcome.

He also acknowledges it would not be a good look if a lot of effort went into getting Christchurch ready for the cup while residents are in makeshift housing and still using portaloos.

Mr Key says the Government is hoping to make a recommendation by the end of the week on the seven scheduled matches, including two quarter-finals.

Mr Key says the Government will make its recommendation based on an honest assessment of the situation, and will not be pressing ahead if it's clearly not possible.

Labour leader Phil Goff says it seems unlikely the city can host the matches, because as well as the damage to the stadium and the need to provide accommodation for rugby fans, there is a huge job just to restore basic services .

Meanwhile, organising body Rugby New Zealand 2011 is refusing to comment on a British newspaper report that Christchurch is likely to lose the hosting rights.

The Daily Telegraph says it has confirmation from a senior IRB source that the engineers' structural report on AMI Stadium will end the city's hosting chances.

Rugby New Zealand 2011 spokesperson Mike Jaspers says they have nothing to add to Mr Key's statement that he hoped to have a recommendation on the matter by the end of the week.