Quake damage halts pre-season contest

TONY SMITH
Last updated 05:00 02/03/2011

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The Canterbury Rugby Football League have cancelled this month's pre-season competition, but still hopes to hold competitions this winter.

General manager Graeme Sole yesterday made the decision to scrap the annual pre-season premiership competition due to kick off on March 14.

"Until we get a stocktake from our clubs and some normality resumes, it would not be appropriate at this time to have teams and supporters travelling around Christchurch to attend matches," he said.

The CRFL plans to meet with clubs next week "to suss out what we are going to do about the season".

Sole was still hopeful the competitions could kick off as planned in early April, but that would be dependent on talking to clubs and the Christchurch City Council about the availability of grounds and other facilities.

"We can't get hold of the council because they are out doing civil defence work and, to be perfectly frank, there are more important things at the moment."

Sole predicted "there will be a [rugby league] season, of some sort", but he said the meeting with clubs would help develop a clearer picture.

Rugby League Park – the CRFL's traditional headquarters – will be out of action for some time with Sole saying "a lot more cracks have appeared [since the February 22 earthquake] and there were plenty there before".

"It will remain closed until the buildings have been inspected," said Sole, who has his staff working from home.

"The No1 stand has suffered some additional damage and I am not prepared to let anyone into the building until the experts have had a look."

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