WELLINGTON (AFP) – The All Blacks Test against Australia in earthquake-rattled Wellington next week was given a tentative go-ahead Saturday but officials said the final decision depended on a quake damage report.
Westpac Stadium, the venue for the Rugby Championship return match, has been closed this weekend and all events cancelled following Friday's powerful quake, which has been followed by hundreds of aftershocks.
Engineers are conducting a thorough inspection of the ground over the weekend to check whether it remains safe enough to host the match, expected to draw a capacity crowd of about 35,000.
"I expect like the last earthquake there will be some relatively minor repairs that will have to be made but all things being equal we will be ready for the Test match next weekend," stadium chief executive Shane Harmon told Radio Sport.
The quake, which sent terrified residents running from buildings, was measured at magnitude 6.5 by the US Geological Survey, and followed a similar sized tremor last month.
Although there was little apparent structural damage in the New Zealand capital city, the on-going shakes have residents fearing a repeat of the devastating quake that killed 185 people in Christchurch two years ago.
The Rugby Championship begins this Saturday with the opening match between New Zealand and Australia in Sydney while South Africa play Argentina in Bloemfontein.