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."

Voices
Homeless Veterans charity auction: Cook with Angela Hartnett and Neil Borthwick at Merchants Tavern
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm tomorrow
Arts and Entertainment
J Jefferson Farjeon at home in 1953
booksBooksellers say readers are turning away from modern thrillers and back to golden age of crime writing
Sport
Amir Khan is engaged in a broader battle than attempting to win a fight with Floyd Mayweather
boxing Exclusive: Amir Khan reveals plans to travel to Pakistan
News
Stacey Dooley was the only woman to be nominated in last month’s Grierson awards
mediaClare Balding and Davina McCall among those overlooked for Grierson awards
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Voices
Joseph Kynaston Reeves arguing with Russell Brand outside the RBS’s London offices on Friday
voicesDJ Taylor: The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a worker's rant to Russell Brand
News
Twitchers see things differently, depending on their gender
scienceNew study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
Life and Style
A still from the 1939 film version of Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind'
life
News
Xander van der Burgt, at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
scienceA Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
film
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick