League: Anzac test shifted from Christchurch

The New Zealand Rugby League have decided to relocate the annual Anzac test due to the mounting death toll. Photo / Getty Images
The New Zealand Rugby League have decided to relocate the annual Anzac test due to the mounting death toll. Photo / Getty Images

Earthquake-ravaged Christchurch has lost out on hosting the Anzac rugby league test between New Zealand and Australia.

The test was scheduled to be played in the city on May 5 but the New Zealand Rugby League (NZRL) today decided to relocate the international due to the mounting death toll, which has risen to 163, and the serious damage inflicted on Christchurch's infrastructure by last week's magnitude 6.3 earthquake.

The match will instead be played at Skilled Park on Queensland's Gold Coast.

The NZRL said both it and the Australian Rugby League were committed to returning the Anzac test to Christchurch in 2012.

"The priority for them now is to somehow get their lives back together and the valuable resources they have on call need to be focused on trying to rebuild their city," NZRL chief executive Jim Doyle.

"By next year, hopefully, they will be looking for the tourism and the international exposure that this match can deliver, and we will be there to do everything we can to deliver that outcome.

"We remain committed to giving the people of Canterbury the chance to see the world champion Kiwis but unfortunately it is in everyone's interest that we wait for the right time.

"We are conscious that there are a lot of people hurting at the moment in Christchurch, as well as many in Queensland who are still coming to terms with the devastation of recent floods, and the test will certainly include a number of fundraising efforts."

To accommodate the venue change, the New Zealand Warriors' round nine National Rugby League (NRL) match against the Gold Coast Titans, which was scheduled to be played in Auckland, has been moved to Skilled Park. The corresponding match between the two teams in round 18 will move from Skilled Park to Auckland.

"The move has been agreed to by both clubs and reduces the impact of the venue change on the Warriors, players," said NRL chief executive David Gallop said today.

"There is tremendous sympathy for the people of Christchurch and we accept that the city is simply not in a position to host the match."

- NZPA

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