Cup venue survives worst of earthquake

World Cup organisers in New Zealand are confident that one of their showcase stadiums – Lancaster Park in Christchurch, recently redeveloped at a cost running well into seven figures – will not require major repair work following the serious earthquake that struck the South Island city over the weekend. This will come as some relief to England, who will be based there in the early stages of next year's tournament and are scheduled to play Argentina and Georgia in the space of eight days.

Mike Jaspers, the competition's communications manager, said yesterday that the stadium was "pretty unscathed" and that the initial assessment from structural engineers was that nothing had happened to change plans ahead of the opening pool games, which are almost exactly 12 months distant. "We're maintaining a watching brief," he added. "It's been a very dramatic few days and we're very lucky no one died. A few hours either way would have been fatal."

The quake, measured at 7.1, caused considerable damage around the city and struck shortly after thousands of rugby supporters had left the stadium following the ITM Cup game between Canterbury and Bay of Plenty on Friday. The venue is now closed to the public, pending a clean bill of health from the experts. "It was a major shake and we have to be certain that the structural integrity of these new buildings has been maintained before we let people back in," said Bryan Pearson, the Lancaster Park chief executive.

On the other side of the Tri-Nations landscape, there were problems of a less alarming, and wholly more predictable, variety affecting the Springboks, whose poor run of form continued with defeat by the Wallabies in Bloemfontein last Saturday. Jake White, who guided South Africa to the world title in 2007, wants to see the back of his successor, the wildly outspoken Peter de Villiers, and is prepared to return, saying he is ready to "do a hospital job" in an effort to knock the champions back into shape.

"I can't bear to watch the Boks playing like this any more," he remarked. "I'll coach them through to the World Cup next year if the South African Rugby Union wants me. I've already made contact with the president [Oregan Hoskins], but he keeps telling me he has to run the idea past the executive council. But this is extremely frustrating to see and it saddens me. We were the strongest defensive team in world rugby a short while ago. Suddenly, we are conceding 22 tries in a Tri-Nations season. It's unacceptable that such elementary mistakes are being made."

Intriguingly, White indicated that Eddie Jones, the former Wallaby coach who was part of the Boks' back-room team in 2007, was ready to return alongside him. Jones, who quit his director of rugby's job at Saracens 18 months ago, is currently working at club level in Japan, but his friend and partner insisted: "We can start next week, if we're wanted."


house + home
Arts and Entertainment
tvGame of Thrones season 5 ep 4, review - WARNING: contains major spoiliers!
Life and Style
Bats detect and react to wind speed and direction through sensors on their wings
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Ed Miliband, Nick Clegg and David Cameron appeal to the audience during the Question Time special
Danny Jones was in the Wales squad for the 2013 World Cup
rugby leagueKeighley Cougars half-back was taken off after just four minutes
Life and Style
The original ZX Spectrum was simple to plug into your TV and get playing on
techThirty years on, the ZX Spectrum is back, after a fashion
Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn are breaking up after nearly three years together
peopleFormer couple announce separation in posts on their websites
Life and Style
Google celebrates Bartolomeo Cristofori's 360th birthday
techGoogle Doodle to the rescue
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living