One of the things that makes rugby such a truly great all inclusive sport is that despite its fans partisan views, they are still able to hold a well balanced, intellectual debate on any topic in the game even after the tenth pint on a cold November evening (we hope). And as much as teams and players are at the centre of almost every debate, fans can also be fiercely loyal and equally damming of their teams stadium.
As such we are going to take a look at what we perceive to be the best 5 stadiums in which to witness a game of rugby. Do however feel free to add your own suggestions in the comments section below and if they get enough support we will look to include them in the post.
Without further ado and in no particular order, here are our top 5…
The Millennium Stadium
Capacity – 74,500
The Millennium Stadium has become one of the most popular stadiums in world rugby with both fans and players due to it’s central location in Cardiff. Fans can quite literally crawl their way from the bar into the stadium in a matter of minutes. And once inside the steep angle of the stands create and incredible atmosphere that is amplified even further when the roof is closed. The local banter isn’t too bad either
Capacity – 52,500
Not the biggest stadium by a long shot but Suncorp’s great sight lines and facilities make it a great standard bearer for modern stadia. Another stadium that has great access and is surrounded by bars making the pre-match atmosphere almost as electric as during the game.
Location – Cape Town, South Africa
Capacity – 51,900
Whilst Newlands may not be able to boast the kind of facilities on offer at the likes of the Millennium and Suncorp, the atmosphere is unbelievable. A stadium that can often see as many visiting fans as home supporters is always going to create a fantastic atmosphere and the backdrop of Table Mountain make for a truly spectacular experience in Cape Town.
Parc des Princes
Location – Paris, France
Capacity – 48,712
Another stadium that is maybe lacking somewhat in the modern facilities expected in international stadia these days but another ground that more than makes up for it in atmosphere. When the fans get going you can quite literally feel the stadium rocking underfoot, the fact that it is so well located only adds to the experience.
Location – Auckland, New Zealand
Capacity – 50,000
Whilst maybe not the best stadium in terms of facilities, Eden Park is the home of the All Blacks and as such the atmosphere created by the fans on game days more than compensates for any of the stadiums failings. The fact that the stadium is now 100 years old means it is packed full of history and still remains the only ground to have hosted two World Cup finals.
*Edit – Thomond Park added by popular demand
Location – Limerick, Ireland
Capacity – 26,500
As you can probably tell from the comments section below, there has been an overwhelming demand to add Thomond Park to the list so here we are. The passion and support shown by the home fans here has seen Munster secure many a famous victory. During the stadiums redevelopment they kept the terracing at Thomond helping to retain the stadiums famous atmosphere.