x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

New Zealand World Cup venue closed for quake damage checks

Christchurch's Lancaster Park, one of the venues for next year's rugby World Cup, has been closed to check for damage from earthquake that struck New Zealand.

Christchurch's Lancaster Park, one of the venues for next year's rugby World Cup, has been closed to check for damage from earthquake that struck New Zealand. The stadium's US$43 million (Dh158m) facelift has been put on hold while engineers survey potential structural damage at the ground where five World Cup pool games and two quarter-finals will be played, the Sunday Star Times reported. "There is a lot of damage and breakage to fixtures and fittings," said Bryan Pearson, the venue's chief executive. "But in terms of major structural damage, from our preliminary assessment, there is no indication yet that there is an issue."

The venue was closed after Saturday's magnitude 7.1 quake. "It was a major shake and we have to be certain that the structural integrity of these buildings has been maintained before we let the public back in them," Pearson said. The earthquake struck hours after thousands of rugby fans had left the stadium following a provincial game between Canterbury and Bay of Plenty on Friday. Elsewhere, Peter de Villiers' job as the Springbok coach is safe for now although South African Rugby Union will review his side's poor run of form and some of his controversial comments.

Australia's Saia Fainga'a, meanwhile, has been suspended for two weeks for a dangerous tackle during Saturday's 41-39 Tri-Nations win over South Africa. The hooker, was cited by SANZAR commissioner Steve Hinds for tipping Flip van der Merwe, the Springbok replacement lock. Australia host New Zealand in the final match of this year's Tri-Nations in Sydney on Saturday. Bath established their Aviva Premiership title credentials with a comfortable bonus-point 32-16 victory against Leeds.

And Soana Tonga'uiha, the prop forward scored twice as Northampton beat Leicester 27-16. * Agencies