Crusaders to remain homeless for another Super season

The Crusaders will play another Super Rugby season away from home next year after Christchurch City Council (CCC) said on Tuesday that a stand at the team’s Lancaster Park stadium needed to be demolished because of earthquake damage.

New Zealand’s second largest city is still in the process of getting back on its feet after a 6.3-magnitude quake struck on February 22, killing more than 172 people and badly affecting infrastructure.

The seven-times Super Rugby champions and runners-up last season were forced to play this year’s home matches at Timaru, Trafalgar Park in Nelson and also one in London, England after the quake left substantial damage to the ground.

“The Hadlee Stand [at Lancaster Park] has suffered severe earthquake damage and engineers for the Council are recommending it be demolished,” the CCC said in a statement on Tuesday.

“Re-levelling and other repairs are required on the Tui Stand at the southern end of the stadium. More work is required to establish the best outcomes for the Paul Kelly Stand and the Deans Stand.

“Both have dropped 300-400 millimetres as a result of the earthquake.”

The prospect of repairs to the three stands looked bleak with the CCC saying that the scale of the re-levelling required “has never been undertaken in New Zealand before and is rare around the world”.

The CCC said engineers were continuing their evaluations and expected them to be presented in October, but they were working with the Crusaders on finding them a new home for 2012.

Lancaster Park was also meant to host seven Rugby World Cup matches at the tournament starting in New Zealand on September 9 but the significant damage led to organisers reallocating matches around the country.—Reuters