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England finalise World Cup plans

England have confirmed the rearranged schedule for this year's World Cup, having been forced to alter their plans in the wake of the Christchurch earthquake.

Christchurch was hit by the quake on February 22, forcing tournament organisers to relocate the seven games scheduled to be played there and inform sides that they could not have their bases in the city. England will instead be based in Auckland, Dunedin and Queenstown, with the former acting as their principal location.

Dunedin's Otago Stadium will host three of England's Pool B games and Martin Johnson's side will relocate to the south island city during that period, aside from a five-day spell in Queenstown between their first and second games against Argentina and Georgia.

The RBS 6 Nations champions will return to Auckland ahead of their final pool game against Scotland at Eden Park, and remain in the north island for the knockout stages of the tournament.

Team manager Johnson said: "Our thoughts are still with the people of Christchurch as they rebuild and we were very much looking forward to being based there.

"When it was confirmed that would not be possible, we worked with the World Cup organisers on alternative bases and we would like to thank them for sorting things as quickly as possible given the circumstances.

"We feel that the schedule, which now sees us starting off in Auckland, is the best one for us."

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