When the finest rugby players set foot in England in 2015 for Rugby World Cup, they will have the pleasure of playing at some of the finest venues England has to offer. Despite the fact that the cup is still a few years away, the expectation is palpable. This article describes the twelve suggested sites to use, some already confirmed, with announcements naming all the exact sites to be created later in 2012.
This image is thanks to steeljam, Flickr.
The big venues
Wembley Stadium in London is known worldwide as one of the most majestic companies ever to host sports. The 90,000-seat stadium was built on the site of the old Wembley in 2007. It is the second largest stadium in Europe, behind only the Camp Nou in Barcelona. The iconic Wembley Arch branches off over a 134-meter-high stadium. It hosts the (American) football final during London 2012 Olympics.
The fourth largest stadium in Europe with a capacity of 82,000, Twickenham Stadium, will also take center stage at the World Cup. Also in London it is known as English Rugby, a fitting title for such a historic stadium that opened way back in 1909. The World Rugby Museum is also located there, a must-see for all fans who come to watch the matches.
Old Trafford, owned and operated by Manchester United, will also lend its services to the prestigious World Cup. Its history is as long as Twickenham, which opened only a year later in 1910. The stadium with 76,000 plus capacity is aptly known as the “Dreams Theater.” Perhaps the dreams of England’s own rugby team will come true on the pitch itself.
Millennium Stadium is the only one from Wales to be used in the tournament. Located in the Welsh capital Cardiff, the 74,500 stadium opened in 1999. The Millennium Stadium was built to host the 1999 World Cup, making it a suitable venue for the Games, which take place 16 years later. The weather does not play a role at Millennium Stadium as it is one of the few that has a retractable roof.
Image courtesy of purplemattfish, Flickr
The intermediate stadiums
Emirates Stadium, formerly known as Ashburton Grove, opened in 2006 with a capacity of 60,355. It’s home to Arsenal in English Premier League. The stadium has a bit of an identity crisis that is called both “The Emirates” as well as “The Grove” because of its former name.
Officially known as SportsDirect.com @ St. James’ Park Stadium, it is more commonly called simply St. James Park. Located in Newcastle upon Tyne, it is home to Newcastle United Football Club. The 52,409-seat stadium opened in 1892 and has undergone a lengthy expansion in recent years. It is the northernmost stadium to be used for the tournament.
Anfield Stadium in Liverpool, home of Liverpool FC, is the oldest stadium to host the tournament, founded in 1884. Following the acquisition of Liverpool by the Fenway Sports Group, it is assumed that Anfield will be renovated from its 60,355 capacity in the near future and kept as the club’s home. The first years of the stadium’s existence highlighted Everton as its tenant until their departure in 1892.
Elland Road, the nearly 53,000-seat stadium, has been home to Leeds United since its founding in 1919. The stadium has undergone numerous renovations and expansions since the 1897 opening. Their team faced possible relocation back in 2001, but the plan was scrapped after financial problems.
Small stadiums, big hearts
The smallest stadiums hosting the Rugby World Cup in 2015 all have capacity under 33,000. While that may be the case, the atmosphere in each of these venues must still be completely electric for the matches that take place. St. Mary’s Stadium is home to Southampton FC and opened in 2001. Ricoh Arena, known as “The Ricoh,” is Coventry Cityhome and opened in 2005. Welford Road Stadium in Leicester offers home games for Leicester Tigers rugby team. It has hosted seven international rugby matches since 1902. Kingsholm Stadium in Gloucester is the last stadium to be shown. Built in 1891, it is known as Castle Grim.
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Then the game starts!
This article was produced on behalf of Keith Prowse, a provider of official hospitality at some of the UK’s most sought after sporting events. Visit the site for Twickenham hospitality and tickets to many other sporting events.