Rugby World Cup 2011 Stadium Guide - Stadium Christchurch
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Rugby World Cup 2011 Stadium Guide – Stadium Christchurch

Rugby World Cup 2011 Stadium Guide – Stadium Christchurch

In the lead up to the Rugby World cup 2011 in New Zealand we are running a series of articles on the venues that will be hosting games during the tournament. Part of the spiel around hosting the tournament sold the country as a “Stadium of 4 Million” and they have tried hard to stick to that, with 13 venues in total scheduled to host matches.

The view from the Wallaby Coach stand

We are starting our virtual tour in Christchurch, where the clean stadiums rule, finally caught onto by the Kiwis, sees AMI Stadium renamed as Stadium Christchurch. Stadium Christchurch will host 5 Pool matches, including 2 Wallaby matches, and two Quarter Finals. The recently upgraded stadium, where the addition of the Deans stand (nice of them to name it after the current Wallaby coach) has an increased capacity of nearly 4o 000, though temporary seating will see it hold 45 000 for the RWC.

Looking accross the field from the Hadlee stand to the Deans Stand

A little bit of History on the ground, In 1880 Canterbury Cricket and Athletics Sports Co. Ltd was established and proceeded to purchase 10 acres from the Lancaster Estate. the new ground adopted the name Lancaster Park and was officially opened in 1881, interestingly the opening was scheduled for a cricket match on 8 October, but it was cancelled due to rain. An athletics meeting became the first event held on the ground, on 15 October.

The venue has held an amazingly diverse range of events, from cricket, trotting, cycling, swimming, tennis, potato farming (During World War I the ground was dug up to grow potatoes to support the war effort) and hot air ballooning to hosting Pope John Paul II (1986) and Queen Elizabeth (1963) to concerts by Bon Jovi in 2008, Roger Waters in 2006, AC/DC in 1996, U2 in 1989 & 1993 and Billy Joel in 1987. But it is Rugby we are all interested in, and it has seen some amazing moments on the rugby pitch as well.

First and foremost, this ground as Lancaster Park used to be one of the ‘big four’ venues where test rugby was played (Carisbrook, Athletic Park and Eden Park the others). Many famous All Black tests have been held here with memorable battles against the Springboks, British Lions and France in particular.

Sandy Carmichael, Fond memories of Lancaster Park

One of the most famous international matches to be played at Lancaster Park was Canterbury vs The British Lions of 1971. THE Lions won the game 14-9 but it was one of the bloodiest premeditated assaults in rugby history that resulted in Scottish prop Sandy Carmichael, Irish prop Ray McLoughlin and Irish No.8 Mick Hipwell being ruled out of the tour, as well as leaving Irish breakaway Fergus Slattery with concussion and without two teeth.

Domestically it’s been a fortress for Canterbury over the years. They dominated South Island rugby and, along with Auckland, have been the powerhouse of NZ provincial competitions and the Ranfurly Shield. With Super rugby, let’s not mention Bob Dwyer’s Waratahs record breaking loss to the Crusaders here (96-19 in 2002).

Australia first won in Christchurch in 1913, a 16-5 win to the Wallabies in front of 7000 spectators. We’ve played 13 times against the All Blacks here for a won 4 lost 9 record. The last time we won was in 1998 (27-23 with tries to Bowman, Burke, Larkham and Little, pen Burk, con 2 Eales). This year’s RWC will be the first time the Wallabies have played anyone else at this venue.

Location: Four-minutes from the city centre or nine-minutes from the airport (I think that is a little optimistic.)

Capacity: 45,000 for RWC 2011, 36,000 in standard dress

Address: Stadium Christchurch, 30 Stevens Street, Phillipstown, Christchurch

Matches:

Argentina v England, Saturday September 10

Australia v Italy, Sunday September 11

England v Georgia, Sunday September 18

Argentina v Scotland, Sunday September 25

Australia v Russia, Saturday October 1

Quarter-final 2, Saturday October 8

Quarter-final 4, Sunday October 9

Location: Four-minutes from the city centre or nine-minutes from the airport
Capacity: 45,000 (for RWC 2011)
Access: Wheelchair ramps and lifts are situated at all main entrances
Address: Stadium Christchurch, 30 Stevens Street, Phillipstown, Christchurch
Phone: +64 (0)3 371 1000
Matches: Argentina v England, Saturday September 10
Australia v Italy, Sunday September 11
England v Georgia, Sunday September 18
Argentina v Scotland, Sunday September 25
Australia v Russia, Saturday October 1
Quarter-final 2, Saturday October 8
Quarter-final 4, Sunday October 9

 

EDIT: I Started writing these guides late last year when I was on a tour of all the venues with work. I wanted to start with Christchurch, mainly because it was the venue for Australia’s first game of the cup, but also because I love visiting the place. It was/is definitely my favourite city in the country that I have visited at least, not just because it was where I enjoyed my first (and subsequent) Whiskey Sour. I sincerely hope it returns to that glory. While I will edit the upcoming articles, I wanted this one to stay as it was before the tragic quake.

  • Good write up, keeping the original ‘pre-quake’ text was, for lack of a better word, very nice.

  • Top Bloke

    Subsequent to the main quake last Sept and February, the major aftershocks in June really put paid to any possibility of the Stadium being used again. The Hadlee stand at the north end is to be demolished. Both the Paul Kelly and the new Deans stand have sunk on their foundations and repairs seem to be an extremely difficult task.
    Its looking like a complete rebuild will be necessary

  • chriscullen

    I grew up near Lancaster Park as it was known then, one of my favorite memories of the ground was when Robbie Deans kicked a last minute penalty on a hard angle near the halfway line to earn Canterbury a 15-15 draw against Counties in their first challenge of the ranfurly shield, the shield era could have been over before it began but the party went on and on for three more years.

  • Duncher

    Been there to watch the Tahs come unstuck against the Saders in the 08 final… Great place! It will be sorely missed during this campaign.

    Here’s the Ccurch getting back on its feet!

  • Tangawizi

    Are you anyone else from GAGR able to get on one of these Christchurch Red Zone and AMI Stadium tours Mr Timms? Says RWC official media to coincide with when the Wallabies are in town.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/sport/rugby/world-cup-canterbury/5535766/Red-zone-tours-for-RWC-media

    • Not that I am aware of, but will make some enquiries.

      We will do our best to get someone on it.

  • Tangawizi

    Bit of Footage of England’s visit and some of the current scenes around Chch here –
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/rugby-world-cup/news/video.cfm?c_id=1503158&gal_cid=1503158&gallery_id=121271

    Also Scibe has just put out a tribute/fundraising video “Not Many Cities” that shows a lot of the damage too – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XRcCzdHzZUg

  • Extremely insightful cheers, It is my opinion your current visitors may very well want a whole lot more posts like that carry on the great work.

  • great blog!
    Another cool post
    greatful for the write up
    Cant wait to see future post
    Thanks, have a great day
    I really liked your post
    Very cool
    great blog, look at mine if you get a chance.
    Cool
    Outstanding post again! I am looking forward for your next post:)
    interesting post. thank you a lot

  • Great post, man I wish I could’ve been there to see the All Blacks play.

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@mrtimms

Steve Timms, He likes watching the odd game of Rugby, occasionally writes about it.. Proud member of the original Mudchooks.

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