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Christchurch stadium damage threatens Rugby World Cup

Earthquake damage to hotels and a stadium could lead to the cancellation of seven planned Rugby World Cup matches in Christchurch, New Zealand.

New Zealand prime minister John Key said accommodation and the state of the stadium were key issues in the decision on whether to go ahead with the matches.

He said: “There’s a series of different boxes that will need to be ticked before we can say ‘yes’ or ‘no’.

“That work [on the stadium] is happening. If it doesn’t pass that standard then obviously the Cup has to be moved. If it does then we can work through the other logistical issues.”

But he supported the argument for the matches to be played, saying that it would show the world the city is fighting back after being hit by the 6.3 magnitude earthquake.

Key said that plans to proceed would show that “Christchurch is going through a rebuilding phase”.

Rugby fans could stay on-board cruise ships if there was not enough hotels to accommodate them, he said.

The earthquake − which destroyed downtown parts of the city − has claimed the lives of 161 people.

Authorities have revealed it will take months to get key services up and running in the wake of the earthquake.

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