So finally after 22 hours up in the sky (and three breakfasts over 3 different continents) we finally arrived in Christchurch on Tuesday. Bleary-eyed, me and Greg wandered through passport control, quickly picked up our rucksacks and headed off to Christchurch city centre.

Our bus pulled up by Hagley Park, passing the mass of rugby pitches and the fanzone dome. Getting our bearings, we decided to explore the city centre - we were greeted with steel fences everywhere.

Confused, we wandered around some more to find a gap in the fence for us to get into the area that seemed to be the main part of the city. Then we realised that this was no puzzle - It was the red zone, the area that was hit hard by the 6.3 magnitude quake. I was surprised to see so many of the buildings were still unstable.

Most shocking of all were the bars & cafés just by the Avon which had significant damage to them. Many would have been brimming with England fans before the kick-off for our first match against Argentina. But after the devastation from the February 22 quake, AMI Stadium was deemed unstable and so two of England's group games have been moved to Dunedin.

It's certainly a shame for me as I was excited to explore New Zealand's second largest city, but it seems that the red zone severely dented my plans.


On a brighter note, it was great to see Lewis Moody and Martin Johnson on the TV, jetting into Christchurch on Wednesday to visit some school children who where affected by the disaster.

I'm sure the earthquakes will not deflate the passionate Christchurch support for the Rugby World Cup.

With Christchurch's disappointing loss came ultimately Dunedin's gain. After exploring the city this morning you can certainly feel a buzz of excitement with England in town. All over the city the shops have some form of Rugby World Cup decorations.

The Octagon square in the centre of the city is the main hive of activity with a few Argentina and England fans milling about this afternoon. We also managed to spot members of the England coaching staff enjoying a spot of lunch in the square.

Speaking of which, Martin Johnson today named his first team for the game against Argentina on Saturday. Johnny Wilkinson, as expected, is taking the number 10 jersey, while Tuilagi will partner with Tindall in the centres. Delon Armitage is replacing the injured Mark Cueto on the wing.

Aside from team news the highlight was visiting the Forsyth Barr Stadium which was undergoing final preparations before the big kick off on Saturday. I have to say it's impressive - nestled on the edge of the bay, and I expect a vibrant atmosphere in two days time.

Let's just hope England can get the result to kick off their Rugby World Cup campaign.

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