Missed us? Buy TRP here!

Subscribers login | Free sample

Newsletter

Get our weekly Rugby email

Top 20 rugby stadiums countdown: 20-16

Salta, Argentina

The Rugby Paper’s features writer BRENDAN GALLAGHER continues his Top 20 series by assessing the rugby grounds which make for the perfect fan experience.

As someone who has reported from around the world during his past times in different climes with the Telegraph, Brendan begins his countdown with a venue newly-constructed for the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

20 Kamaishi Recovery Memorial Stadium – Kamaishi City, Japan

A small rugby stronghold based around the old Nippon Steel team, Kamaishi has suffered two natural disasters in the last decade; the earthquake of 2011 and the tsunami three years later.

Undeterred they set about constructing a small stadium to play their part at RWC2019 and were rewarded with one of the great rugby occasions when Uruguay scored a shock win over Fiji.

19  Estadio Padre Ernesto Martearena – Salta (pictured, main)

Situated 4,000 feet up in the dry foothills of the Andes with both the Malbec vineyards and the Atacama desert a leisurely drive away.

It’s always sunny, 70 degrees and the sky a perfect azure blue. This is not cosmopolitan Buenos Aires or in your face Tucuman, but the annual Test match is the biggest thing to happen in these parts, as much fiesta as rugby occasion.

Fans drive for hundreds of miles around and there is a carpark picnic and barbeque scene that makes Twickenham’s revellers seem lightweights. The rugby is sometimes pretty good but the setting and ambience never fails.

18 Kingsholm – Gloucester

The Shed: Gloucester fans applaud their players back to the dressing room after completing pre-match routines. David Jones/Getty Images

No matter what the state of the season a rugby game at Kingsholm is always an occasion which is one of the reasons it proved such a great smaller venue at RWC2015.

Famed for the unforgiving humour of the Shed – who nonetheless never fail to applaud outstanding play by the opposition – I’ve always found watching games in the main stand equally satisfying.

The buzz and smell of beer, hotdogs and hamburgers is everywhere, raucous Gloucester accents and cries of ‘C’mon Glos’. Impossible not to enjoy a day out at Kingsholm and more than most stadia the experience is even better under lights.

17 Murrayfield – Edinburgh

Murrayfield
Flower of Scotland: Scotland and France meet at Murrayfield in a Test prior to the 2019 Rugby World Cup. Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

I sometimes struggle with Murrayfield. The slightly odd asymmetrical design bothers me more than it should and sitting in the Press seats there is a yawning chasm including a tartan athletics track separating you from the distant pitch.

There was also a time when Scotland were in the doldrums and the crowd – often short of capacity – were sullenly quiet.

And yet when the Scots have their dander up and the pipes are playing and the bands are marching a surge of electricity pulses through the stadium. The fans spark to life and make scary primeval roars like very few other grounds.

16 Kings Park – Durban

Lions tour
Steeped in history: Kings Park hosted the first Test of the 2009 British & Irish Lions tour of South Africa. Stu Forster/Getty Images

Not sure what it’s called these days but will always be Kings Park to rugby fans around the world. Ridiculously steep and spectacular main stands, fantastic brai culture out the back and usually bathed in sun although famously the 1995 World Cup final was played in a monsoon. Durban is a rugby city, it’s a walk up ground with everybody arriving from the bars or the beach and the atmosphere crackles from the start.  Remembered by most over here for the 1997 Lions win but a long and illustrious history.

Not sure what it’s called these days but will always be Kings Park to rugby fans around the world. Ridiculously steep and spectacular main stands, fantastic brai culture out the back and usually bathed in sun although famously the 1995 World Cup final was played in a monsoon. Durban is a rugby city, it’s a walk up ground with everybody arriving from the bars or the beach and the atmosphere crackles from the start.  Remembered by most over here for the 1997 Lions win but a long and illustrious history.

This article was brought to you by The Rugby Paper, the UK's best-selling rugby publication, on-sale every Sunday.
To subscribe to The Rugby Paper CLICK HERE

Tagged , , , , ,

Related Posts

Comments are closed on this article.

betting sites

[snack_ad id="6539107" type="1by1"]