Tri-Nations

All Blacks shaken by quake

2010-09-06 13:01
Steve Hanson (File)
Sydney - Forwards coach Steve Hansen joined the All Blacks in Sydney on Monday ahead of the final Tri-Nations Test with the Wallabies, after his home was wrecked in the Christchurch earthquake.

Hansen's house sustained the most serious damage among the eight All Black players and team management affected by last Saturday's disaster.

Strong aftershocks continued to rock New Zealand's second largest city following Saturday's 7.0-magnitude quake, prompting officials to close schools, shops and businesses.

No-one was killed in New Zealand's most destructive quake in almost 80 years but many residents recounted close shaves.

Hansen's rural property on the outskirts was extensively damaged by the quake and aftershocks, and the building was so precarious that he had to co-ordinate a recovery mission as the New Zealand squad left for Sydney on Sunday.

"He's got major problems with his house," head coach Graham Henry said.

Hansen headed straight from the airport to the team's first training session on Monday ahead of the weekend's Tri-Nations Test.

Skipper Richie McCaw, Kieran Read, Brad Thorn, Sam Whitelock, Corey Flynn, Colin Slade and the Franks brothers Ben and Owen are all based in Christchurch along with Hansen, backs coach Wayne Smith, team manager Darren Shand and doctor Deb Robinson.

Smith said he was relieved that only a couple of cracks were evident on his property, while those nearby were not so fortunate.

Preliminary investigations showed no structural damage to the city's AMI Stadium, slated as a venue for the 2011 Rugby World Cup, local media said.

Peter Maddock, the venue's events manager, told Radio New Zealand only corporate boxes had been damaged while Rugby NZ 2011 chief Martin Snedden said engineers would carry out a proper assessment on Monday but had seen no serious destruction.

"Last week the group that is responsible for dealing with this type of occurrence had actually run a three-day exercise just dealing with... what would happen in these circumstances, so it's certainly something that had already been on our radar," he told the New Zealand Press Association.

The Wallabies' coach, New Zealander Robbie Deans, was also affected by the Christchurch quake, with his family's historic homestead extensively damaged.

Deans arrived home on Monday with the Wallabies from South Africa, relieved that his family in New Zealand were safe.

He made several worried phone calls while in South Africa after news of the earthquake in his home town.

"I checked with my son at 06:00, he was pretty relaxed and not too concerned. They're all good," Deans said.

But he revealed the family homestead, above the earthquake's epicentre, would need to be rebuilt.

"There's been a fair bit of material damage but you can replace that," he told reporters.

Five generations of the Deans' have farmed the heritage-listed homestead since 1851 and it is now a 550-hectare sheep and cattle farm, which attracts 5 000 visitors each year.

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