Top 10 Rugby Stadiums | Best Rugby Stadiums | Rugby365
Stadiums are so much more than mere grass and terraces with towering coliseums in hundreds of cities around the world.
They provide the backdrop to some of the greatest rugby games ever witnessed, but they aren’t just vast and impressive feats of engineering.
Whether they possess immense historical significance or offer unique and breathtaking visuals, some stadiums have set a standard that can’t be eclipsed.
What is your favourite rugby stadium? Is it the one where your own team plays, or a far-flung destination overseas?
We have made a list of the top ten rugby stadiums in the world, considering atmosphere, capacity and even the quality of the toilets.
Some spectators love the raucous atmosphere but there’s also the intimidation factor, the history and tradition, as well as capacity and location.
Naturally, making a very short list of the top ten greatest rugby stadiums means some truly wonderful venues have been left off, but there are some gems on it as well.
10. Murrayfield, Edinburgh
Murrayfield is one of the great sporting stadia of the world and the largest sports venue in Scotland. Since the inaugural match in 1925, Scottish Rugby has had a rich history with Murrayfield witnessing some of the world’s greatest rugby moments.
The two-mile trek from the city centre to the ground, with a number of bars and restaurants en route, can all be part of the matchday experience.
Murrayfield’s record attendance of 104,000 was set on 1 March 1975 when Scotland defeated Wales 12–10 during the 1975 Five Nations Championship (now Six Nations Championship). This attendance stood as a world record until 1999, and remains a European record.
9. Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town
The stadium has it all. Not only is it an ultra-modern piece of architecture, with an ocean view, it is also home to the Stormers and Springboks.
It was conceived for the 2010 football World Cup and now , it has a 55,000 capacity, every modern accessory imaginable and is located in a city housed in the shadow of the iconic Table Mountain.
8. Stade de France, Paris
While some might think there is a spaceship smack bang in the middle of one of Paris’ toughest suburbs, inside the atmosphere can be out of this world, too, when France is winning.
It is one of the rare places in which you can feel the heart of France beat. It is very modern and clear, its roof made of glass which brings the sunlight everywhere in the stadium.
It has a capacity of 81,338 but the lack of bars in the locality isn’t always appreciated by supporters.
7. Twickenham, London
Home of England rugby, Twickenham is the largest stadium in the world devoted just to the sport of Rugby Union.
The stadium looms up at one from quite a distance away. It’s solid. It’s concrete. It’s been around since 1907 in some form or other and it has become part of local life.
Some might see it as soulless, but there have been some very epic matches like the England v Wales game at the 2015 Rugby World Cup, played under the cover of darkness with an atmosphere which positively crackled before and during the match.
The views are good from most areas of the ground, with the steep stands meaning most supporters are tolerably close to the pitch.
It boasts a capacity of 82,000.
6. Eden Park, Auckland
Best known as New Zealand’s most hallowed rugby stadium, it is the place where the Rugby World Cup began and where the All Blacks won that inaugural final.
It is also the first stadium in the world to host the World Cup final twice, in 1987 and 2011.
Under lights the place comes alive.
The 50,000-capacity stadium is the largest in New Zealand and is situated near Auckland’s central business district below the imposing backdrop of Mount Eden.
Even when empty, one can feel the atmosphere, as if the electricity prevails, hanging in the air around you.
5. Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Suncorp Stadium provides Brisbane and south-east Queensland with a 52,500 plus seat capacity, state-of-the art, world-class stadium able to host an array of sporting events.
The stadium has a long and interesting history, has easy rail access to the ground and there is even a footbridge from the railway station to the stadium.
Inside, the venue is a state-of-the-art affair with a 52,000 capacity.
It is home to the Reds Super Rugby side, the Brisbane Broncos rugby league team and the Brisbane Roar football team, as well as Wallabies tests.
4. Thomond Park, Limerick
Up there with the best of them when it comes to spine-tingling atmosphere, especially when the locals are offering up a rendition of the haunting Fields of Athenry.
This historic home of Munster re-opened in 2008 with an increased capacity of 26,500 and plenty of history behind it.
Renowned for imposing noise during play, but also silence while players kick for goal, its unique atmosphere contributed to a remarkable 12-year unbeaten run for the Irish region at the venue.
3. Stade Marcel Michelin, Clermont Ferrand
If one would go on a world tour of top rugby stadiums, it would not be complete without a visit to Top 14 side Clermont Auvergne’s wonderful venue on matchday.
With a fairly small ground housing 19,022, when Clermont play, the stands are drenched in yellow, from the jerseys to the placards which supporters hold aloft when their side takes the field.
Visiting players have been known to feel they are not so much taking part in a rugby match as a gladiatorial contest.
This is a special place with a unique atmosphere.
2. Ellis Park, Johannesburg
Probably the worst location of any stadium anywhere, but when you enter this iconic ground, you will never be the same again.
There is no atmosphere like it, hostile and very passionate. No coincidence that the Springboks play better there than at any ground in the country. They’re different beasts when they run on to Ellis Park. Something in them stirs.
Also, of course, the venue for one of rugby’s most historic matches, the Rugby World Cup final between South Africa and New Zealand in 1995, which saw Nelson Mandela in attendance.
1. Millenium Stadium (Principality Stadium), Cardiff
The Millennium Stadium, officially called Principality Stadium, is the national stadium of Wales and the third largest stadium in Britain.
Anyone who has ever heard the Welsh national anthem in a capacity stadium will understand that this is a stadium apart.
It’s an arena based smack bang in the middle of the Welsh capital and the retractable roof, when used, seals in the fervour.
Sporting the first fully-retractable roof in the UK, the venue is at the leading edge as a multi-purpose, multi-faceted event venue.
Source: The Wales Online