Martin Johnson backs World Cup venue change

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The Independent Online

England manager Martin Johnson has acknowledged that World Cup organisers have made a tough but correct decision in moving matches away from Christchurch.

Johnson's side were due to be based in the earthquake-hit city, which had been set to stage seven matches, including two of England's pool matches and one of Scotland's.

The two quarter-finals scheduled for Christchurch have been moved to Auckland. But England are still waiting on a decision from tournament officials about where the pool matches against Argentina and Georgia will be staged.

Johnson said: "We feel for the people of Christchurch who are still suffering following the tragic earthquake.

"We know how keen they were to play a role in the World Cup and we were looking forward to being based there. But we accept this is the right decision for the tournament and for New Zealand based on all the expert advice.

"We are working closely with Rugby World Cup Limited to understand the possible options for our pool games and what that means for us in terms of a training base but understand the complexities involved so we are comfortable with a short delay while it is all being worked out.

"Once we are clear on the location of our pool games we will send someone out to recce the new training and match venues and accommodation. For now we are just focused on this weekend's (RBS 6 Nations) game in Dublin."