Rugby World Cup 2011: England visit Christchurch
Martin Johnson and his side visit earthquake-torn Christchurch to show their support for the city
England manager Martin Johnson said it was a “no-brainer” for his side to visit Christchurch to show their support in the wake of the earthquakes that ripped through the city.
Johnson’s men were due to play two of their Pool B matches at the recently renovated AMI Stadium, but a 6.3-magnitude tremor on 22 February – the third quake since September 2010 – caused substantial damage to the area and claimed 182 lives.
The arena, formerly known as Lancaster Park, had only just been given a £30m renovation before the quake struck and sunk the two main stands into the ground.
“When you see such a severe quake, it is not about rugby. It is tragic,” said Johnson during England’s visit.
“When we saw what happened in February, we knew rugby wasn’t top of the agenda. We just go and play somewhere else – for the people here it is home.
“This is a famous and iconic stadium and it is sad to see it in this state. We should be here playing.
“To see Lancaster Park, as I always think of it, in this state is really sad. It was a no-brainer for us to come up and show our support.”