Kurt Bayer

Kurt Bayer is an NZME. News Service reporter

Irish rugby team visits Christchurch red zone

The Irish rugby team, who arrived in Christchurch today ahead of the second Test against the All Blacks, have visited the earthquake-devastated city's red zone.

The squad flew from Auckland to Christchurch this morning, and after checking into their city hotel, were taken on a bus tour of the central city red zone cordon.

Ireland scrum coach and former All Blacks and Canterbury prop Greg Feek, who lost a family member on his wife's side in the February 22, 2011 quake, joined the team for the guided visit.

The Irish, who have never played a Test match against the All Blacks in Christchurch, will also meet some members of the local ex-pat community in the team hotel later tonight.

After last year's World Cup, the Irish team donated $6000 from their fines kitty accumulated during the campaign to the Christchurch Earthquake Appeal Fund.

Last September, eight members of the All Blacks World Cup squad visited the red zone cordon to pay their respects to the 185 who died in the disaster.

Then-coach Sir Graham Henry, along with Keven Mealamu, Ali Williams, Richard Kahui, Conrad Smith, Zac Guildford, Sam Whitelock, Andrew Hore, and Victor Vito, were given a guided tour around the fringe of the cordoned-off city centre by Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (Cera) officials.

Henry remarked: "It is humbling to be here. It reinforces what we have seen on TV over the last few months."

Christchurch was scheduled to host seven Rugby World Cup matches but they were reallocated after the February 22 shake.


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