The 2015 Rugby World Cup will be hosted across 13 stadiums in England and Wales. The reasoning behind the high number of host venues and their wide array of locations is largely to allow more locals to watch the games. There are also the many benefits of foreign visitors to consider, and holding matches across the entirety of England allows economic gain to be shared by more towns than merely London. Rugby fans can be found across all of England and Wales, and hosting matches in various locations allows for strengthening of the game. It also means more stadium management committees have experience hosting international matches, a favourable asset in England’s bids for other World Cups.
Twickenham Stadium is the world’s largest exclusively rugby union stadium, and the second largest stadium in the UK overall (after Wembley). Construction began in 1907, and the stadium hosted its inaugural match in 1909. The first international match at Twickenham Stadium was between England and Wales in 1910.
Referred to as the home of rugby union, Twickenham Stadium is owned and operated by the Rugby Football Union, England’s governing body for the sport. Twickenham is sometimes referred to as the “Cabbage Patch”, as the ground it now occupies was a cabbage farm prior to the RFU’s purchase of the land. The World Rugby Union Museum is located at Twickenham Stadium.
|18/09||England v Fiji|
|19/09||France v Italy|
|26/09||England v Wales|
|03/10||England v Australia|
|10/10||Australia v Wales|
|17/10 QF1||Winner Pool B v Runner-Up Pool A|
|18/10 QF4||Winner Pool A v Runner-Up Pool B|
|24/10||Winner QF1 v Winner QF2|
|25/10||Winner QF3 v Winner QF4|
|21/10||Winner SF1 v Winner SF2|
Wembley Stadium is considered the home of football (soccer). First built in 1923, the original stadium was demolished to allow for the construction of a more modern stadium. Wembley carries with it a lot of history, and has played host to numerous important fixtures over the years, including world championship matches for a variety of sporting competitions.
Wembley is the largest stadium in England and the second largest in Europe. It is one of the most expensive stadiums ever built, costing close to 800 million pounds. Wembley also has considerable patron amenities, with more toilets than any other stadium in the world and over 400m of escalators.
Wembley Stadium Info
|20/09||New Zealand v Argentina|
|27/09||Ireland v Romania|
Millennium Stadium is the national stadium of Wales. Home to the Welsh rugby union team, Millennium Stadium was initially built to host the 1999 Rugby World Cup, and hosted the final for that year. It is the second largest stadium in the world with a fully retractable roof.
The inaugural match was played in June 1999; a friendly between Wales and South Africa. Wales beat the South Africans 29-19, in their first ever victory over the Springboks. The stadium has a resident hawk named Dad, who keeps out pigeons and seagulls. Millennium Stadium hosts the annual Speedway Grand Prix of Great Britain, and some other motor sports, but remains predominantly a football stadium.
Millennium Stadium Info
|19/09||Ireland v Canada|
|20/09||Wales v Uruguay|
|23/09||Australia v Fiji|
|01/10||Wales v Fiji|
|02/10||New Zealand v Georgia|
|11/10||France v Ireland|
|17/10 QF2||Winner Pool C v Runner-Up Pool D|
|18/10 QF3||Winner Pool D v Runner-Up Pool C|
Manchester City Stadium
Also known as Etihad Stadium, Manchester City Stadium cost 112 million pounds to build and is the twelfth largest stadium in the UK. Initially an athletics stadium, it was converted to a football stadium in 2002 in order to become the new home for Manchester City FC. The first sporting match played at the stadium was a friendly between Manchester City and Barcelona, which Manchester City won 2-1.
Plans for Manchester Stadium were formulated prior to 1989, but it wasn’t until ten years later that construction began. Construction work to expand the stadium to a capacity of 61,000 is expected to finish just prior to the 2015 Rugby World Cup.
Manchester City Stadium Info
|10/10||England v Uruguay|
Constructed between 2008 and 2011 primarily for 2012 Olympic Games, Olympic Stadium is located 10.5km from Central London. The stadium closed for renovation towards the end of 2013 and will complete works in 2016, however will be able to host matches for the 2015 Rugby World Cup. Olympic Stadium has a maximum capacity of 80,000, but only for music concerts.
Olympic Stadium is the third largest stadium in England behind Wembley and Twickenham. It was designed by the same architect who designed Emirates Stadium, Wembley Stadium, the Millennium Stadium and the O2 Arena. Construction of the stadium finished on-time and under budget, largely due to the minimal steel used in fabrication and the appropriation of residual materials from other projects.
Olympic Stadium Info
|23/09||France v Romania|
|24/09||New Zealand v Namibia|
|04/10||Ireland v Italy|
|07/10||South Africa v USA|
|30/10||Loser SF1 v Loser SF2|
St. James’ Park
St James’ Park has been Newcastle United’s home ground since its opening in 1892. Despite repeated calls for a move, the club has remained at the stadium. The driving reason to move was the conflict with local residents, who blocked expansion plans for the stadium, resulting in its current lopsided appearance.
St James’ Park played host to the second rugby league test match in history, when Great Britain defeated the Australian Kangaroos in 1909. St James’ Park features heavily in the film Goal!, which revolves around a young Newcastle signing, as well as other films and reality TV.
St. James’ Park Info
|03/10||South Africa v Scotland|
|09/10||New Zealand v Tonga|
|10/10||Samoa v Scotland|
Elland Road is the twelfth largest football stadium in England and was home to Holbeck Rugby Club from its opening until 1904. The site of the stadium was once referred to as the “Old Peacock Ground” after a pub that used to face it.
The grounds were used for military training during the first World War. Had England been successful in their bid for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, Elland Road would have received considerable financial assistance towards upgrading the stands to an improved capacity of over 50,000.
Elland Road Info
|26/09||Italy v Canada|
|27/09||Scotland v USA|
Home to Aston Villa FC since opening, Villa Park replaced their previous ground of Wellington Road. Current planning permissions allow Aston Villa FC to extend the North Stand and improve capacity to over 50,000. The current stadium layout comprises three two-tiered stands and a single three-tiered stand.
Villa Park hosted three matches during the 1966 FIFA World Cup and has hosted 55 FA Cup semi-finals. In 1948, Villa Park saw the first ever black man win a British boxing title. In February 1909, Great Britain won their first ever rugby league test series against the Kangaroos in a third game decider.
Villa Park Info
|26/09||South Africa v Samoa|
|27/09||Australia v Uruguay|
Leicester City Stadium
Also known as King Power Stadium, Leicester City Stadium was constructed in 2002 to allow for the potential long-term Premier League position of Leicester City FC. Boasting under-soil heating, the stadium initially had a capacity for 32,500 but this was reduced following the installation of partitions to allow fan segregation.
The record attendance at the stadium was for a rugby union match in 2006 between the Leicester Tigers and Bath, topping out at 32,488 (this occurred prior to the removal of the seats). Although the Leicester Tigers have a separate, smaller home ground, they have played several Heineken Cup quarter- and semi-finals at the stadium.
Leicester City Stadium Info
|04/10||Argentina v Tonga|
|06/10||Canada v Romania|
|11/10||Argentina v Namibia|
Kingsholm Stadium is home to the Gloucester Rugby club. Sometimes referred to as Castle Grim after the estate which once existed where the grounds now lie, the stadium was once the home ground for England before the move to Twickenham.
The North Stand is known as “the Shed” and is well known for its standing area and low roof, which contributes to ardent fan support. Plans for redevelopment of the Shed to seat greater than 4000 spectators have been repeatedly rebuffed by Gloucester Rugby supporters.
Kingsholm Stadium Info
|19/09||Tonga v Georgia|
|23/09||Scotland v Japan|
|25/09||Argentina v Georgia|
|11/10||USA v Japan|
Sandy Park is home to the Exeter Chiefs, one of the top sides in the Aviva Premiership. Depending upon the Chiefs’ performance over the coming years, Sandy Park will receive certain upgrades in stages. Thee will include additional seating, bars, restaurants and a conference centre.
Currently boasting a capacity of 10,744, Sandy Park will seat 12,300 during the World Cup if existing plans are fulfilled. Sandy Park regularly hosts weddings, exhibitions, shows and conferences of varying sizes, fulfilling genuine community involvement commitments.
Sandy Park Info
|29/09||Tonga v Namibia|
|07/10||Namibia v Georgia|
|11/10||Italy v Romania|
Initially named stadium:mk, stadiummk is located in the district of Milton Keynes and is the home ground of the Milton Keynes Dons. There are plans to expand the complex to include an arena, although these have been delayed due to the inability to launch retail developments which would subsequently provide funding.
Only recently built, the initial proposal for the stadium came about when Wimbledon FC relocated from South London. Should England be successful in a FIFA World Cup bid, stadiummk will be one of the host venues. Currently, some Heineken Cup matches are hosted at the stadium, with more likely in future as the need for larger stadiums grows.
|01/10||France v Canada|
|03/10||Samoa v Japan|
|06/10||Fiji v Uruguay|
Brighton Community Stadium
Also known as American Express Community Stadium or Falmer Stadium, Brighton Community Stadium is home to Brighton & Hove Albion FC. Set three storeys down into the ground, construction took around three years and involved the removal of 138,000 m3 of chalk.
The current record for attendance is just over 30,000, almost full capacity. In 2012, Brighton Community Stadium won the New Venue Award at the Stadium Business Awards. Construction only began after a long series of legal haggling, with neighbouring district Lewes making repeated attempts to block approval, as part of the stadium rested on their land.
Brighton Community Stadium Info
|City||Falmer, Brighton & Hove|
|19/09||South Africa v Japan|
|20/09||Samoa v USA|