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Hanmer Springs News

Hanmer Springs Rugby World Cup New Zealand Christchurch

Hanmer Springs will be home to the Wallabies for four days during the Rugby World Cup.

Christchurch Rugby World Cup ticketholders appear reluctant to travel to the North Island for relocated pool matches.

Wellington and Auckland were yesterday named as replacement venues, along with Nelson, Dunedin and Invercargill.

Organisers said ticket buyers for all Christchurch matches would receive a refund and the opportunity to secure replacement tickets to the rescheduled matches during a priority purchase period. However, there was no guarantee tickets would cost the same as the seats they had already secured.

Christchurch ticketholder Jabyn Butler, who had planned to attend five pool matches and the quarterfinal, said he would not travel to the North Island for pool games.

"I completely understand they had to take the games away from Christchurch, and that was obviously really disappointing, but what's particularly disappointing is that they've taken the quarterfinals to Auckland," he said.

"I think more of those games should have been given to Dunedin. Going to Dunedin's much easier than getting flights and accommodation up in Auckland."

He had considered attending a pool match in Dunedin, but said he would seek a full refund to finance his trip to Auckland for the quarterfinal and final.

Friends who also had tickets were expected to do likewise, Butler said.

"The one piece of good news out of this is that in the second round of ballots we got offered tickets for the final. Our tickets for the final [cost] the same as for the complete pool pack.

"At the end of the day, we're going to a World Cup final and that's just awesome."

Christchurch-based England supporter and new mother Lucy Williams, who had pool and quarterfinal tickets, said she was now unlikely to be able to watch her side play at the tournament.

England's Christchurch games had been moved to Dunedin, but she was hopeful of at least attending the match against Argentina on September 10.

"I will give it some thought, and speak with the girl I was supposed to go with, and then we'll decide if we're going to do a weekend away or not," Williams said.

She was not prepared to pay more than $180 already spent on her Christchurch ticket.

The Australians, whose matches have been moved to Auckland and Nelson, will be based in North Canterbury for four days at the request of Canterbury-born coach Robbie Deans. An Australian Rugby Union spokesman said the trip to Hanmer Springs followed Deans' move to have the All Blacks train there when he was assistant coach in 2003.

It would help the Wallabies "keep the connection" with Christchurch, the spokesman said. "We're not going to be in Canterbury as long as we want to be, but there'll be the chance for some [public] interaction in Christchurch." The team was happy to play one of its relocated matches in Nelson, he said. McCully sadB14

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