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New Zealand Rugby announces that Christchurch will lose out on All Blacks tests
In a move potentially linked to the Christchurch Stadium Trust’s decision to recommend a 25,000 capacity for the Christchurch stadium, the New Zealand Rugby has announced that the city will not host the All Blacks in the next two seasons.
The announcement was made yesterday (25th August), the day after the Trust announced its preference for an "arena within which rugby is occasionally played", rather than a sports stadium.
New Zealand Rugby is believed to want a 35,000 permanent seat stadium.
Responding to New Zealand Rugby’s announcement, Christchurch City Council Mayor Lianne Dalziel said it was disappointing for the city and fans but emphasised the need to work together to ensure the city secures hosting rights for the future.
Mayor Dalziel stated “New Zealand Rugby has an established process for allocating test matches and on this occasion, they have decided that Christchurch is going to miss out. Of course, we are disappointed as we are a very proud rugby city and region, and home of the Super Rugby and Mitre 10 Cup champions.
“We recognise that AMI Stadium was a temporary venue for hosting events and not a long term answer. The temporary stadium ensured Canterbury had five years of guaranteed rugby, but today’s announcement shows there’s a need now more than ever to move forward with a new asset so the city can once again host major fixtures.
“We will be working hard with Canterbury and New Zealand Rugby to ensure that we are able to host the All Blacks once more when future opportunities arise.”
Christchurch City Council, ChristchurchNZ and Canterbury Rugby Football Union collaborated on the recent hosting bid.
ChristchurchNZ Chief Executive Tom Hooper said the test match allocation was disappointing, but acknowledged it was at least good to see a test match hosted in the South Island.
Hooper added “understandably, Christchurch fans will be disappointed to not host a test match in 2018/19, but I know there are plenty of South Island fans who will be excited to see the All Blacks at Trafalgar Park in Nelson, and I’m sure many will make the trip there to see them in action.
“Getting test match rugby for our region is important and something we’ll be working hard towards.”
ChristchurchNZ, the newly established Council Controlled agency is responsible for major events, economic development and tourism. A key focus of the new entity is to promote and secure large scale events in the city in the future.
ChristchurchNZ will continue to work in partnership with Canterbury and New Zealand Rugby to put Christchurch in the best possible position to secure future opportunities.
Image: Built in just 100 days, Christchurch's temporary AMI Stadium's five year life span was originally scheduled to end this year. A new venue is unlikley to be completed before 2022.
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