The World Cup in New Zealand represents a double-whammy for the people of earthquake-shattered Christchurch, Wallaby coach and home-town icon Robbie Deans said on Tuesday.
New Zealand's second-largest city is still recovering from a 6.3-magnitude quake in February that killed 181 people.
Christchurch was scheduled to host seven World Cup matches before it was ruled out as a venue city because of the widespread structural damage.
Deans, who is part of one of the founding families of the Canterbury region and who coached the Crusaders to five Super Rugby titles, keenly felt the effects of the Christchurch quake.
"I am certainly disappointed for the people of Canterbury. It's been a very tough pill for them to swallow," Deans told reporters soon after arriving for the World Cup.
"The challenges still go on for them there, the earth is still moving and to be honest the challenges will last for a long time and the place will never be the same again.
"So they are going through a tough time and it's a double-whammy for them to now have to sit and watch the World Cup happen around them because they are a very passionate rugby population."
Deans, whose family emerged unscathed from the quake, said the Wallabies will visit Christchurch during their time in New Zealand and help in fund-raising activities and raising morale.
"We're going down there and doing some activity in the area so to show they haven't essentially been abandoned and also do some fund-raising," he said.
Deans was asked whether given his immense popularity in Christchurch that Cantabrians will be cheering for the Wallabies and not the All Blacks at the World Cup.
"I suspect after the other weekend (beating the All Blacks in the Tri-Nations) the lines may have been drawn, but hopefully they'll enjoy the rugby we play and get the opportunity to enjoy the occasion," he grinned.
Deans, 52, who missed out on the All Blacks' coaching job to Graham Henry in 2007 and went on to become the first foreigner to coach the Wallabies, recently had his four-year contract extended for an extra two years until 2013 by the ARU.
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