Twickenham Stadium

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Twickenham Stadium
Billy Williams' Cabbage Patch [1]
The Cabbage Patch
Twickenham Stadium logo.svg
Stade de Twickenham a Londres.jpg
Aerial view of Twickenham Stadium in 2009
LocationWhitton Rd, Twickenham TW2 7BA [2]
Coordinates 51°27′22″N0°20′30″W / 51.45611°N 0.34167°W / 51.45611; -0.34167 Coordinates: 51°27′22″N0°20′30″W / 51.45611°N 0.34167°W / 51.45611; -0.34167
Public transit National Rail logo.svg Twickenham
Owner Rugby Football Union
Executive suites150
Capacity 82,000 (rugby) [3]
75,000 (American football)
Field size125 m x 70 m
Surface Desso GrassMaster
Opened2 October 1909;109 years ago (1909-10-02)
ArchitectJohn Bradley
England national rugby union team

Twickenham Stadium ( /ˈtwɪkənəm/ ; usually known as Twickenham or Twickers) [4] is a rugby union stadium in Twickenham, south west London, England. Owned by the governing body of rugby union in England, the Rugby Football Union (the RFU), the stadium hosts home test matches for the England national rugby union team. Other rugby union games played at the stadium include the Middlesex Sevens, selected Premiership Rugby fixtures, selected Anglo-Welsh Cup matches, the Varsity Match between the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, and selected European Rugby Champions Cup matches. The RFU headquarters are in the stadium.

Rugby union Team sport, code of rugby football

Rugby union, widely known simply as rugby, is a contact team sport which originated in England in the first half of the 19th century. One of the two codes of rugby football, it is based on running with the ball in hand. In its most common form, a game is between two teams of 15 players using an oval-shaped ball on a rectangular field with H-shaped goalposts at each end.

Twickenham Suburban area in South West London, England

Twickenham is an affluent suburban town in south-west London, England. It lies on the River Thames and is 10 miles (16 km) west-southwest of Charing Cross. Historically part of Middlesex, it has formed part of the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames since 1965.

London Capital of the United Kingdom

London is the capital of and largest city in England and the United Kingdom, with the largest municipal population in the European Union. Standing on the River Thames in the south-east of England, at the head of its 50-mile (80 km) estuary leading to the North Sea, London has been a major settlement for two millennia. Londinium was founded by the Romans. The City of London, London's ancient core − an area of just 1.12 square miles (2.9 km2) and colloquially known as the Square Mile − retains boundaries that follow closely its medieval limits. The City of Westminster is also an Inner London borough holding city status. Greater London is governed by the Mayor of London and the London Assembly.


Twickenham Stadium has also hosted concerts by Rihanna, Iron Maiden, Bryan Adams, Bon Jovi, Genesis, U2, Beyoncé, The Rolling Stones, The Police, Eagles, R.E.M., Eminem, and Lady Gaga, rugby league's Challenge Cup Finals, and conventions of Jehovah's Witnesses, and it has hosted American football as part of the NFL London Games in 2016 and 2017.

Rihanna Barbadian singer, businesswoman, and actress

Robyn Rihanna Fenty is a Barbadian singer, businesswoman, fashion designer, actress, and philanthropist. She is known for embracing various musical styles and reinventing her image throughout her career.

Iron Maiden English heavy metal band

Iron Maiden are an English heavy metal band formed in Leyton, East London, in 1975 by bassist and primary songwriter Steve Harris. The band's discography has grown to thirty-nine albums, including sixteen studio albums, twelve live albums, four EPs, and seven compilations.

Bryan Adams Canadian singer-songwriter

Bryan Guy Adams is a Canadian singer, songwriter, record producer, guitarist, photographer, philanthropist and activist.

Twickenham Stadium is the second largest stadium in the U.K., following Wembley Stadium, the fourth largest stadium in Europe, and the largest stadium in the world dedicated to the sport of rugby union.

Wembley Stadium Football stadium in Wembley, London

Wembley Stadium is a football stadium in Wembley, London, which opened in 2007, on the site of the original Wembley Stadium, which was demolished from 2002–2003. The stadium hosts major football matches including home matches of the England national football team, and the FA Cup Final. The stadium was also the temporary home of Premier League football club Tottenham Hotspur between August 2017 and March 2019, while White Hart Lane was being demolished and their new stadium was constructed.


Twickenham is often referred to as the home of rugby union. [5] The stadium, owned and operated by the RFU, hosts rugby union fixtures year round. It is the home of the English rugby union team, who play nearly all their home games at the stadium. Twickenham hosts England's home Six Nations matches, as well as inbound touring teams from the Southern Hemisphere, usually annually around November.

Six Nations Championship annual international rugby union competition

The Six Nations Championship is an annual international rugby union competition between the teams of England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland, and Wales. The current champions are Wales, who won the 2019 tournament.

Apart from its relationship with the national team, Twickenham is the venue for a number of other domestic and international rugby union matches. It hosts the annual London leg of the World Rugby Sevens Series, the Cup (championship) final and third-place match of the annual London leg of the World Rugby Women's Sevens Series, and the domestic Middlesex Sevens competition. It is also the venue for the Premiership Rugby final as well as the season-opening London Double Header, Big Game and an annual fixture hosted by Bath Rugby. Anglo-Welsh Cup, Heineken Cup and Champions Cup finals have also been held here in the past. The stadium is also host to The Varsity Match between Oxford and Cambridge, the English schools' Daily Mail Cup Final and the Army Navy Match which forms the culmination of the annual Inter-Services Competition.

London Sevens rugby sevens tournament held in London England, Untied Kingdom

The London Sevens is an annual rugby sevens tournament held at Twickenham Stadium in London. It is part of the World Rugby Sevens Series. London was added to the World Series for the first time in 2001. For many years the London Sevens was the last tournament of each season but the Paris Sevens became the last stop on the calendar in 2018. The current titleholder of the London Sevens is Fiji, who beat South Africa in the 2018 final.

World Rugby Sevens Series international series of tournaments in mens rugby sevens

The World Rugby Sevens Series is an annual series of international rugby sevens tournaments run by World Rugby featuring national sevens teams. The series, organised for the first time in the 1999–2000 season, was formed to develop an elite-level competition series between rugby nations and develop the sevens game into a viable commercial product for World Rugby. The competition was originally known as the IRB World Sevens Series, but has been known officially as the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series since 2014 due to sponsorship from banking group HSBC.

The London Women's Sevens is part of the London Sevens, and was first played in 2012 when the IRB promoted a Women's Challenge tournament that was hosted alongside the existing men's tournament.


Sold out Tests against New Zealand and South Africa at Crystal Palace saw the RFU realise the benefit of owning their own ground. Committee member William Williams and treasurer William Cail [6] led the way to purchasing a 10.25 acre (4 hectare) market garden in Twickenham in 1907 for £5,500 12s 6d. The first stands were constructed the following year. Before the ground was purchased, it was used to grow cabbages, and so Twickenham Stadium is affectionately known as the Cabbage Patch. After further expenditure on roads, the first game, between Harlequins v. Richmond, was played on 2 October 1909, and the first international, England v. Wales, on 15 January 1910. At the time of the English-Welsh game, the stadium had a maximum capacity of 20,000 spectators. During World War I the ground was used for cattle, horse and sheep grazing. King George V unveiled a war memorial in 1921.

New Zealand national rugby union team mens rugby union team of New Zealand

The New Zealand national rugby union team, called the All Blacks, represents New Zealand in men's rugby union, which is known as the country's national sport. The team has won the last two Rugby World Cups, in 2011 and 2015 as well as the inaugural tournament in 1987.

South Africa national rugby union team national sports team

The South Africa national rugby union team, commonly known as the Springboks, is governed by the South African Rugby Union. The Springboks play in green and gold jerseys with white shorts, and their emblems are the Springbok and the King Protea. The team has been representing South Africa in international rugby union since 30 July 1891, when they played their first test match against a British Isles touring team.

Crystal Palace National Sports Centre National Sports Centre at Crystal Palace in south London, United Kingdom

The National Sports Centre at Crystal Palace in south London, England is a large sports centre and athletics stadium. It was opened in 1964 in Crystal Palace Park, close to the site of the former Crystal Palace Exhibition building which had been destroyed by fire in 1936, and is on the same site as the former FA Cup Final venue which was used here between 1895 and 1914.

Starting An Attack, painting of the England v Wales rugby union match at Twickenham in 1931 Starting-An-Attack-.jpg
Starting An Attack, painting of the England v Wales rugby union match at Twickenham in 1931

In 1926, the first Middlesex Sevens took place at the ground. In 1927 the first Varsity Match took place at Twickenham for the first time. On 19 March 1938, BBC Television broadcast the England Scotland (Calcutta Cup) match from Twickenham, the first time that a rugby match was shown live on television. [7] In 1959, to mark 50 years of the ground, a combined side of England and Wales beat Ireland and Scotland by 26 points to 17.

Coming into the last match of the 1988 season, against the Irish, England had lost 15 of their previous 23 matches in the Five Nations Championship. The Twickenham crowd had only seen one solitary England try in the previous two years, and at half-time against Ireland they were 0–3 down. During the second half a remarkable transformation took place and England started playing an expansive game many had doubted they were capable of producing. A 0–3 deficit was turned into a 35–3 win, with England scoring six tries. This day also saw the origins of the adoption of the traditional spiritual "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" as a terrace song. In the 35–3 win against Ireland, three of England's tries were scored by Chris Oti, a black player who had made a reputation for himself that season as a speedster on the left wing. A group of boys from the Benedictine school Douai, following a tradition at their school games, sang "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" whenever a try was scored. When Oti scored his second try, amused spectators standing close to the boys joined in, and when Oti scored his hat-trick the song was heard around the ground. [8] [9] Since then "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" has been a song to sing at England home games, [10] in the same way that Fields of Athenry is sung in Dublin and Cwm Rhondda is sung in Cardiff.

The interior Twickenham Stadium in 2012 Twickenham Stadium - May 2012.jpg
The interior Twickenham Stadium in 2012

The United Kingdom, Ireland and France shared the hosting of the 1991 Rugby World Cup. Twickenham was used during pool A England matches. Twickenham was also host of the 1991 Rugby World Cup Final in which Australia beat England 12-6. For this game, England changed their style of play, opting for the sort of running game that had brought them victory against Ireland in the March 1988 game referred to above. During this match, with the English facing a 12-3 deficit, David Campese reached one-handed for a ball thrown to England winger, Rory Underwood. He dropped it and the ball rolled forward, gifting England a penalty that proved to be the last score of the game. Some have claimed that Campese's action should have been interpreted as a deliberate professional foul, with possible disciplinary action against the Australian player. However, on the same ground in November 1988, Campese had intercepted a similar pass and run the length of the field to score a try. [11]

Some of the Welsh-hosted 1999 Rugby World Cup games were taken to Twickenham. These included three of England's pool B matches, the second round playoff when England defeated Fiji 45 points to 24, and both semi-finals, none of which England were involved in, having made their exit in the quarter-finals at the hands of South Africa. Under the reign of Clive Woodward, the stadium became known as 'Fortress Twickenham', as England enjoyed a run of 19 unbeaten home matches from October 1999, ending with defeat against Ireland in 2004. The IRB Rugby Aid Match was played on 5 March 2005 under the auspices of the International Rugby Board (IRB) to raise money for the United Nations World Food Programme to support its work aiding victims of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. Representative sides of the Northern and Southern hemispheres played at Twickenham. The final score was Northern Hemisphere 19 – Southern Hemisphere 54.


Twickenham rfu.jpg
The South Stand before redevelopment
The South Stand during redevelopment
Twickehnam Pitch.jpg
The South Stand after redevelopment

Since the ground was bought by the RFU in 1907, it has gone through a number of redevelopments. In 1921 a stand was built above the northern terrace, with workshops placed underneath. In 1927, there was an extension to the East Stand, bringing the capacity to 12,000. The south terrace was also extended to allow 20,000 spectators. In 1932 a new West Stand was completed, providing offices for the RFU, who made the ground their home. In 1937, Middlesex County Council approved a scheme submitted by Twickenham Borough Council to widen Rugby Road due to it being inadequate for traffic.

In 1965, the South Terrace was closed due to structural failings. It was found to be cheaper to build a new stand as opposed to repairing the existing one; however, planning permission was refused, due to objection from local residents. Permission was granted in 1978. A period of extensive rebuilding took place during the early 1980s which continued through to the mid-1990s. In 1981 the South Terrace was rebuilt as the South Stand. After being taken down in 1989, an extended North Stand was opened in 1990. After the 1992 Five Nations, the stadium saw the development of the new East Stand and following that the West Stand. In 1995, the stadium was completed to accommodate 75,000 people in an all-seater environment. The North, East and West stands were all built by Mowlem. [12]

Planning permission was sought in 2002 and received in December 2004 for a new South Stand to raise capacity to 82,000, together with a hotel and conference centre, with redevelopment commencing in June 2005. The RFU's revised application to build the new south stand at £80 million was unanimously approved by Richmond Council's planning committee on 2 December. As well as increasing the stadium's capacity to 82,000, the redevelopment introduced a four-star Marriott hotel with 156 rooms and six VIP suites with views over the field, a performing arts complex, a health and leisure club, open a new rugby shop and also increase the current function space. On Sunday 10 July 2005 the south stand was demolished to make way for the new development. The festivities that were planned for the implosion of this end of the stadium were cancelled in the wake of the 7 July terror attacks in the centre of London. The new seating, which had been started by Mowlem, was completed by Carillion on 5 November 2006 in time for the England vs New Zealand game of the 2006 Autumn internationals series, in which England lost in a near-record defeat. [12]

Rugby World Cup

Twickenham Stadium has hosted Rugby World Cup Matches in 1991, 1999 and 2015 with England as hosts in 1991 and 2015 therefore holding the Final. The Stadium also hosted semi finals in 1999 including France's 43–31 victory over favourites New Zealand, regarded by many as the best Rugby match of all time.

1991 Rugby World Cup

Stage of TournamentTeam 1ScoreTeam 2
Pool AEngland12–18New Zealand
Pool AEngland36–6Italy
Pool AEngland37–9United States of America

1999 Rugby World Cup

Stage of TournamentTeam 1ScoreTeam 2
Pool BEngland67–7Italy
Pool BEngland16–30New Zealand
Pool BEngland101–10Tonga
Quarter Final Play OffEngland45–24Fiji
Semi FinalAustralia27–21South Africa
Semi FinalFrance43–31New Zealand

2015 Rugby World Cup

Stage of TournamentTeam 1ScoreTeam 2
Pool AEngland35–11Fiji
Pool AEngland25–28Wales
Pool AEngland13–33Australia
Pool AAustralia15–6Wales
Pool DFrance32–10Italy
Quarter FinalSouth Africa23–19Wales
Quarter FinalAustralia35–34Scotland
Semi FinalSouth Africa18–20New Zealand
Semi FinalArgentina15–29Australia
FinalNew Zealand34–17Australia

Other uses

An Iron Maiden concert in 2008. Iron Maiden - Twickenham London - 050708.jpg
An Iron Maiden concert in 2008.

Though Twickenham usually only hosts rugby union fixtures, it has in the past been the venue for a number of other events. In 2000, the ground hosted its first game of rugby league, in which Australia defeated England in the opening game of the 2000 Rugby League World Cup. The Rugby League Challenge Cup Final has also been played at Twickenham twice, in 2001 and 2006, and was won by St. Helens on both occasions. Due to the construction delays of Wembley, a number of scheduled events at Wembley were moved to Twickenham. The Challenge Cup and the Rolling Stones' A Bigger Bang Tour concerts were taken to Twickenham. [13] The Stones also played two shows at Twickenham in August and September 2003, the first of which was used as their stadium concert disc for the 2003 DVD Four Flicks. During 2007 Genesis played at Twickenham during their reunion tour. The Police played at the stadium in September 2007 and Rod Stewart in June. The usual capacity for concerts is anything up to 80,000, as opposed to the 82,000 for rugby. [14]

R.E.M. performed at Twickenham in August 2008, while New Jersey rockers Bon Jovi played two gigs at the stadium in June 2008 as part of their Lost Highway Tour, and Iron Maiden played there as part of their Somewhere Back in Time World Tour on 5 July 2008, along with a full supporting bill which included Avenged Sevenfold, Within Temptation and Lauren Harris.

Since the mid-1950s it has also hosted the Jehovah's Witnesses annual convention for the London area. Usually up to 25,000 attend to hear Bible talks.

The TV motoring show Top Gear used the pitch for a match of rugby, played using Kia cars. [15]

Lady Gaga performed two sold-out shows at the stadium during her Born This Way Ball Tour on the 8th and 9 September 2012 with 101,250 people attending for both shows. The first date broke a record for The Fastest Selling-out Stadium Show in UK history when the 50,625 tickets for the first show sold out in 50 seconds.

Rihanna performed two shows at the stadium during her Diamonds World Tour on 15 and 16 June 2013 for 95,971 people for both nights.


DatePerformer(s)Opening act(s)Tour/EventAttendanceNotes
24 Aug 2003 The Rolling Stones Licks Tour
20 Sept 2003
18 June 2005 U2 Doves, Idlewild, Athlete, Ash Vertigo Tour 110,796
19 June 2005
17 June 2006 Eagles Farewell 1 Tour
20 Aug 2006 The Rolling Stones Feeder A Bigger Bang 100,540
22 Aug 2006 The Charlatans
30 June 2007 Rod Stewart Greatest Hits
8 July 2007 Genesis Turn It On Again: The Tour
27 June 2008 Bon Jovi Biffy Clyro Lost Highway Tour 92,852
28 June 2008 The Feeling
5 July 2008 Iron Maiden Avenged Sevenfold, Within Temptation, Lauren Harris Somewhere Back in Time World Tour 55,000
30 Aug 2008 R.E.M. Accelerate Tour
8 Sept 2007 The Police Maxïmo Park, Fiction Plane The Police Reunion Tour 104,417
9 Sept 2007
12 Sept 2010Various Artists Robbie Williams, Alexandra Burke, Bruce Forsyth, Enrique Iglesias,

Jack Dee, James Blunt, Jason Manford, John Bishop, Katherine Jenkins,
Kevin Bridges, Michael McIntyre, Peter Kay, Pixie Lott, Plan B,
Rhod Gilbert, Roger Daltrey, Spelbound, The Saturdays, The Wanted &
Tom Jones

Help For Heroes Concert
8 Sept 2012 Lady Gaga The Darkness, Lady Starlight Born This Way Ball 101,250
9 Sept 2012
1 June 2013 Various Artists Beyoncé, Ellie Goulding, Laura Pausini, Jennifer Lopez,

Jessie J, John Legend & Timbaland, among others

Sound for Change Live 45,060
15 June 2013 Rihanna David Guetta, GTA Diamonds World Tour 95,971
16 June 2013
8 July 2017 U2 Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds The Joshua Tree Tour 2017 108,894
9 July 2017
19 June 2018 The Rolling Stones James Bay No Filter Tour
14 July 2018 Eminem 2 Chainz, Royce 5'9" & Boogie Revival Tour
15 July 2018 Prophets of Rage, Royce 5'9" & Boogie
20 June 2019 Metallica Ghost
WorldWired Tour

American football

On 3 November 2015 it was announced that the RFU and America's National Football League had agreed a three-year deal to host at least three NFL London Games. The deal began in October 2016 and gave the opportunity to host an additional two games over the three-year period of the deal. [16]

On 23 October 2016 the Los Angeles Rams hosted the New York Giants at Twickenham Stadium. This was the second of three London Games in 2016, with the others being played at Wembley. [17] The game was televised nationally live in the UK on BBC Two.

The final two games of the agreement were played in 2017, with matchups announced on 13 December 2016. [18]

List of NFL London Games at Twickenham Stadium
YearDateUK BroadcasterDesignated HomeScoreDesignated AwayScoreAttendancePre-game show
2016 23 October BBC [19] Flag of the United States.svg Los Angeles Rams 10 Flag of the United States.svg New York Giants 1774,121 Craig David
2017 22 October Sky Sports Flag of the United States.svg Los Angeles Rams 33 Flag of the United States.svg Arizona Cardinals 073,736 [20]
29 OctoberBBC Flag of the United States.svg Cleveland Browns 16 Flag of the United States.svg Minnesota Vikings 3374,237

World Rugby Museum

The World Rugby Union Museum is a museum located in Twickenham Stadium. The museum covers the whole of the global game, not just English rugby union. It tells the history of the sport, including William Webb Ellis and Richard Lindon, using interactive display techniques. The museum has a rolling programme of special exhibitions which cover topical issues and offer an opportunity to display some of the obscurer items in the collection. Some unique displays include an English rugby union jersey from the first ever rugby union international in 1871 between England and Scotland, and (until 2005) the William Webb Ellis Cup which was obtained by England at the 2003 Rugby World Cup. Twickenham Stadium Tours are also available through the Museum and run four times per day (Tuesday to Saturday) and twice on Sundays. It is usually open every day of the week except for Mondays. Except match days when for ticket holders only a special price entry to the museum is available.

See also

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Rugby union in England

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1992 Rugby League World Cup Final

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The RFU Senior Vase is a rugby union national knockout cup competition in England run by the Rugby Football Union, which has been competed for since the 2006–07 season. It is contested for by teams at level 8 of the English rugby union system, with only 1st XV sides being allowed to enter. The competition is a national one but is split into regions until the semi-finals with the final being held at Twickenham Stadium in London. As of 2018-19 it is the fourth most prestigious national club cup competition in England behind the Premiership Rugby Cup, RFU Championship Cup and RFU Intermediate Cup.


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  4. Nicky Campbell Twickers learning from us Scots as petty tyranny crosses border , The Guardian 1 February 2007
  5. RFU press office Home of Rugby to host cycling charity challenge Archived 2 February 2007 at the Wayback Machine 8 September 2006
  6. "Cail, William". Retrieved 10 December 2011.
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  8. Oliver Price Blood, mud and aftershave in The Observer Sunday 5 February 2006, Section O is for Oti
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  10. Tom Geoghegan, All you need to know about rugby: Rugby songs and jokes, BBC news magazine, 19 October 2007
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  12. 1 2 "Steel conversion for Twickenham". New Steel Construction. 1 September 2006. Retrieved 20 January 2018.
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  14. "RFU apply for two additional concerts at Twickenham Stadium in 2007". The Twickenham Rugby Stadium. Archived from the original on 25 June 2008. Retrieved 21 March 2007.
  15. "Six Nations 2013: Top Gear team play car rugby". BBC Sport. BBC. Retrieved 18 February 2013.
  16. "NFL action at Twickenham". England Rugby. Rugby Football Union. Retrieved 3 November 2015.
  17. "NFL Announces 2016 International Series Games in London". NFL UK. National Football League. Retrieved 25 November 2015.
  18. "2017 London games: NFL announces which teams will be playing". NFL . Retrieved 13 December 2016.
  19. "New York Giants vs Los Angeles Rams 10/23/16". NFL. National Football League. Retrieved 16 April 2016.
  20. Doyle, Tom (22 October 2017). "NFL London 2017: Los Angeles Rams crush Arizona Cardinals 33-0". Evening Standard . Retrieved 22 October 2017.

Further reading

Preceded by
Eden Park
Rugby World Cup
Final Venue

Succeeded by
Ellis Park
Preceded by
Lansdowne Road
Heineken Cup
Final Venue

Succeeded by
Parc des Princes
Preceded by
Lansdowne Road
Heineken Cup
Final Venue

Succeeded by
Preceded by
Millennium Stadium
Heineken Cup
Final Venue

Succeeded by
Millennium Stadium
Preceded by
Millennium Stadium
Heineken Cup
Final Venue

Succeeded by
Aviva Stadium
Preceded by
Millennium Stadium
European Rugby Champions Cup
Final Venue

Succeeded by
Parc Olympique Lyonnais
Preceded by
Eden Park
Rugby World Cup
Final Venue

Succeeded by
International Stadium Yokohama