31 Mar 2011

Govt disappointed at some RWC venue changes

6:46 pm on 31 March 2011

The Government says it is disappointed not all of the Rugby World Cup pool games originally scheduled for Christchurch have been given to other South Island venues.

The city lost hosting rights to five pool matches and two quarterfinals because of damage caused by the 22 February earthquake.

AMI Stadium has been extensively damaged and the city can no longer provide the accommodation required.

Invercargill, Nelson and Dunedin have been awarded an extra pool game, but so too have Wellington and North Harbour in Auckland.

Rugby World Cup Minister Murray McCully says the Government was unable to convince tournament organisers to keep the Christchurch pool matches in the South Island.

Dunedin's untested new stadium was one of the factors in a decision not to hold all of the rescheduled matches at South Island venues.

Rugby World Cup 2011 chief executive Martin Snedden says if all the games had stayed in the South Island, there would have been a match in Dunedin's new stadium the day after it hosted its first-ever game.

Mr Snedden told Morning Report that was too much to ask; nor, he says, would the city able to accommodate the 20,000 visitors expected in such a short time.

Meanwhile, the official World Cup travel agency, House of Travel, says about 30,000 rugby tourists have so far been redirected from Christchurch to Auckland.

The tournament begins on 9 September.