When the finest rugby players set foot in England in 2015 for the Rugby World Cup, they will have the pleasure of playing in some of the finest venues England has to offer. Despite the Cup being still a few years away, the anticipation is palpable. This article details the twelve proposed sites to be used, some already confirmed, with announcements naming all of the exact sites to be made later in 2012.
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The Big Venues
Wembley Stadium in London is known worldwide as one of the most majestic establishments ever to house sport. The 90,000 seat stadium was built upon the grounds of the old Wembley in 2007. It is the second largest stadium in Europe, behind only Camp Nou in Barcelona. The iconic Wembley Arch branches over the stadium over 134 meters high. It will host the (American) football finals during the 2012 London Olympics.
The fourth-largest stadium in Europe with an 82,000 capacity, Twickenham Stadium will also take center stage in the World Cup. Also in London, it is known as the home of English Rugby, a fitting title for such a historic stadium that opened all the way back in 1909. The World Rugby Museum is also located there, a must-see for any fans coming 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 just as long as that of Twickenham, opening only a year after in 1910. The 76,000-plus capacity stadium is fittingly known as the “Theater of Dreams.” Perhaps the dreams of England’s own rugby team will come true on this very pitch.
Millennium Stadium is the lone one from Wales to be utilized in the tournament. Located in the Welsh capital of Cardiff, the 74,500 capacity stadium was opened in 1999. Millennium Stadium was built to host the 1999 World Cup, so it is a fitting site for the games to take place 16 years later. Weather will not play a factor at Millennium Stadium, as it is one of the few to feature a retractable roof.
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The Intermediate Stadiums
Emirates Stadium, formerly known as Ashburton Grove, opened in 2006 with a capacity of 60,355. It is the home of Arsenal in the English Premier League. The stadium has a bit of an identity crisis, being referred to as both “The Emirates” as well as “The Grove” due to its prior name.
Officially known as SportsDirect.com @ St. James’ Park Stadium, it is more commonly referred to as simply St. James Park. Located in Newcastle upon Tyne, it is the home of the Newcastle United Football Club. The 52,409 seat stadium was 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 F.C., is the oldest stadium hosting tournament play, founded in 1884. After the acquisition of Liverpool by the Fenway Sports Group, it is assumed the Anfield will be renovated from its 60,355 capacity in the near future and kept as the home of the club. The early years of the stadium’s existence featured Everton as its tenant until their departure in 1892.
Elland Road, the almost 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 that plan was scrapped after financial troubles.
Small Stadiums, Big Hearts
The smallest stadiums to host matches in the 2015 Rugby World Cup are all beneath 33,000 capacity. While that might be the case, the atmosphere in each of these venues should still be absolutely electric for the matches taking place. St. Mary’s Stadium is home to Southampton F.C. and opened in 2001. Ricoh Arena, known as “The Ricoh”, is Coventry City‘s home and opened in 2005. Welford Road Stadium in Leicester features the home games of the Leicester Tigers rugby team. It has hosted seven international rugby matches since 1902. Kingsholm Stadium in Gloucester is the final stadium to be featured. Built in 1891, it is known as Castle Grim.
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This article has been produced on behalf of Keith Prowse, a provider of official hospitality at some of the UK’s most sought after sporting events. Visit the website for Twickenham hospitality and tickets to many other sporting occasions.