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New Zealand to stage full World Cup

Rugby World Cup chiefs have stressed that all 48 matches of this year's tournament will take place in New Zealand.

The country is reeling from last week's Christchurch earthquake, which is expected to see a final death toll in excess of 200.

Christchurch is due to stage seven matches in the competition, including England's pool stage appointments with Argentina and Georgia, Scotland versus Argentina and two quarter-finals. It has been mooted that some games could be switched to Australia, but Rugby World Cup Limited insist New Zealand will be sole hosts when the event kicks off on September 9.

"The thoughts and deepest sympathies of the global rugby family continue to be with the people of Christchurch, all New Zealanders and everyone affected by last week's tragedy," said RWCL in a statement. "The response of the global rugby family has been overwhelming and we know is greatly appreciated by those affected.

"It is appropriate that the focus must remain on the extensive recovery and response operation in Christchurch, and it would not be right for Rugby World Cup Limited to speculate or comment on Christchurch's ability to host Rugby World Cup 2011 matches as planned until an extensive review and assessment has been completed, which could take several weeks.

"RWCL, in partnership with tournament organisers RNZ 2011, the New Zealand Rugby Union and the New Zealand government, continues to assess the damage to critical tournament facilities and services.

"These include Stadium Christchurch itself, accommodation, training facilities, the transport network and key tournament infrastructure.

"It is clear there has been damage to Stadium Christchurch, accommodation and other infrastructure.

"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. Consideration must be given to all aspects of hosting RWC matches.

"Whatever the outcome of the detailed assessment, all 48 matches will be hosted in New Zealand and the tournament will kick off on September 9."


From Belfast Telegraph