With the six nations tournament back in action this weekend, it reminded us of one of our favorite subjects – biggest stadiums in the world, this time venues hosting rugby union matches.
For our previous lists – Soccer, College Football, NFL, MLB and NBA.
Number 10 – Kings Park Stadium, Durban, South Africa – 55,000
The ABSA stadium at it is known now due to its sponsor has been up and running since 1891, undergoing massive renovations over the years, the most recent one in the 90’s before the 1995 Rugby Union World Cup in South Africa, with the South Africa-France semi Final (19-15 to SA) played there. With the new Moses Mabhida Stadium built for the 2010 World Cup, the future and stature of Kings Park is unclear, as a rugby and football stadium.
Number 9 – Boris Paichadze Stadium, Tbilisi, Georgia – 58,000
The stadium, named after a great Georgian footballer who played in the first half of the 20th century, is mostly known as the home of Dinamo Tbilisi FC and the Georgian national soccer team, but the rugby union team, the current holders of the European Nations Cup (also known as Six Nations B), plays there as well.
Number 8 – Ellis Park Stadium, Johannesburg, South Africa – 62,567
Ellis Park, or Coca-Cola Park, has been around since 1928 and is unanimous with rugby union and South African rugby, hosting the 1995 Rugby Union World Cup win when South Africa beat New Zealand in the final (15-12). It will also host seven matches in the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
Number 7 – Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh, Scotland – 67,130
Murrayfield is the biggest stadium of any kind in Scotland, known almost exclusively for it’s rugby union purposes, serving as the home ground for the Scottish national team and the Edinburgh Rugby team. It has also hosted two Heineken Cup Finals in recent years (2005, 2009).
Number 6 – Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales – 74,500
Opened in 1999, the Millennium stadium serves as the home of the Welsh rugby union team and the national soccer team and the second largest stadium in the world with a fully retractable roof. It will host soccer matches in the 2012 Olympics.
Number 5 – Stade de France, Paris, France – 81,338
Another relatively young stadium, the Stade de France was built for the 1998 World Cup, hosting France’s 3-0 win over Brazil in the final. Although mostly known for hosting most of France’s national soccer team matches, it is mostly used as a rugby venue for the French national team and Stade Francais, Paris’s main rugby team. It also hosted the 2007 Rugby World Cup Final, won by South Africa.
Number 4 – Twickenham Stadium, London, England – 82,000
One of the older stadium, Twickenham was opened in 1909, and is currently the second biggest stadium in the United Kingdom and fifth biggest in Europe, although it is the biggest rugby union stadium in the UK and second largest in Europe. It is home to the England national rugby union team, hosted the 1991 Rugby Union World Cup Final (and will again in 2015) and has also hosted three Heineken Cup Finals (2000, 2004, 2007).
Number 3 – Croke Park, Dublin, Ireland – 82,300
The largest sports stadium in Ireland and fourth biggest in Europe, Croke Park in Dublin has mostly been used since breaking ground in 1884 for Gaelic games but has recently been used more and more for rugby union matches, a controversial subject in Ireland. In the Heineken Cup Semi Final between Leinster and Munster on May 2, 2009, the 82,208 attendance was a new world record for attendance in a rugby union club fixture.
Number 2 – Stadium Australia, Sydney, Australia – 83,500
Another one of the stadiums built in the 90’s is currently known as the ANZ stadium, being called Telstra Stadium as well. For it’s original purpose, hosting the 2000 Olympic games in Sydney, the stadium was build to hold 110,000 spectators but that number has been reduced after the Olympics. It has hosted the 2003 Rugby Union World Cup final (famously won by England, launching Johnny Wilkinson into super-stardom back home) and is the home of many rugby union and rugby league teams in Sydney.
Number 1 – Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne, Australia – 100,018
The MCG was featured in our biggest soccer stadiums in the world post, and is the largest sports stadium in Australia. It broke ground in 1853 and hosts cricket, soccer, Australian rules football and rugby matches.