Rugby-loving Aucklanders lose their way in Chch

CHARLIE GATES
Last updated 05:00 29/10/2012
AMI Stadium October 17
JOHN KIRK-ANDERSON/Fairfax NZ

WAITING: The former AMI Stadium in Phillipstown has not been repaired.

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Embarrassed Aucklanders left Christchurch with their reputations in tatters after several turned up at Lancaster Park on Saturday night for the national provincial championship final.

A Christchurch man saw a group of Auckland fans walking towards the former AMI Stadium in Phillipstown before their city was trounced by Canterbury 31-18 at the new AMI Stadium across town in Addington.

Staff at the bar across the road from the quake-damaged stadium say confused fans regularly turn up on a game night.

Lancaster Park has been closed since the February 2011 earthquake, while a replacement stadium with the same name opened in March this year in Addington.

A search for "AMI Stadium" on the Google Maps website or the map function on an iPhone directs users to the former AMI Stadium, rather than the new one.

Canterbury Rugby Union chief executive Hamish Riach said more work was needed to publicise the new location of AMI Stadium to out-of-towners.

Christchurch resident Jamie Todd said he was surprised to see Auckland fans heading in the wrong direction on Saturday night.

"It was one of those ‘are you kidding?' moments," he said.

"They were heading down Moorhouse Ave towards the old stadium. You could see one of them had an Auckland flag hanging from his rucksack. I would love to have seen their faces when they got there."

Alvarado's Mexican Restaurant duty manager Chris Cousens said confused fans regularly walked into their bar. The restaurant is just across the road from the old stadium.

"We usually get one or two that turn up here when there is a game on. I don't understand why they gave the new stadium the same name," she said. "One time people came in about 7.10 asking where the game was, so one of our customers gave about four people a lift to the game in Addington. It was lovely."

Riach said he could understand the confusion.

"We try to call it AMI Stadium Addington in our conversations and discussions so we know what we're talking about, but for out-of-towners it is not clear enough. Clearly, if this is happening, then we need to make sure people can get to the stadium that is functioning," he said. "It is the first I have heard of this, but we will have a good look at it."

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