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    Quake shakes Crusaders squad

    2011-06-14 09:10
    Christchurch - Trees shook, the grandstand groaned, nearby fire alarms bleated and the ground's resident cat took off in fear as the Crusaders were again reminded of nature's force on Monday.

    According to Rugby Heaven correspondent Richard Knowler, the 5.5-magnitude aftershock at 13:00 struck soon after the team had completed a meeting inside the Rugby Park stand, meaning the majority of the squad were already outside the old structure when the earth moved.

    Players, coaches and management could only stand and watch as team-mates and management bolted from the offices near the top of the stand for the safety of the rugby field as the aftershock rocked the ground.

    Although there appeared to be little, if any, damage no-one was in a hurry to return to the building. Instead they mingled on the playing field as they wondered what to do next; some made phone calls to friends and family, others flipped around a rugby ball to distract themselves and then there was the inevitable discussion about how big the tremor was.

    "This is all the people of this city need after everything they have been through already," coach Todd Blackadder noted.

    Scrumhalf Andy Ellis was standing near the stand when the shaking started and was in no mood to hang around the dated structure.

    "When it first started it was a little bit light and then it built into it, so I jumped the fence to get away from the grandstand which was my biggest fear."

    Unlike some of his team-mates who were at Rugby Park when the devastating February 22 quake struck, Ellis had been in the central city with loosehead prop Wyatt Crockett getting some lunch. He described the February quake experience as "more relentless".

    The pair were on Kilmore St near the Town Hall when the 6.3 earthquake struck, and made their way home amid the dust and damaged buildings.

    Despite yesterday's heavy shake rocking the rugby ground, Ellis believed the players' calm demeanour was a reflection of being used to the aftershocks that have continually rattled Canterbury since the first one hit in early September.

    "You sort of learn to deal with them a little bit - as long as family and friends are all right, it is OK."

    Blackadder was relaxed enough to discover his sense of humour was still installed in his hard drive.

    When asked by staff member Aaron Mauger if he wanted to retrieve his phone from the abandoned office, Blackadder replied: "I'll shout you a coffee if you go and get it for me, mate."
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