How well do you know the Rugby World Cup venues?
The host country, the origins of rugby and the stadiums of the next Rugby World Cup...
Find out all the answers in this second episode of "Do you speak rugby?"
So, did you know the answers?
England is the host nation for the 2015 Rugby World Cup, which will also see eight matches played in Wales. England has already hosted the RWC, in 1991. RWC 1999 also took place in the United Kingdom, but Wales was the official host nation that year. In 1991 and 1995, France played host to eight matches. As the winner of both these "British" competitions, will Australia make it a hat-trick?
The World Cup will come to 13 stadiums, from Newcastle in the north of England to Exeter in the south, by way of Wembley in London and Cardiff's Millennium Stadium. Some are bastions of British rugby, such as Leicester and Gloucester. But the festivities will be just as lively where rugby is less well-known, including Brighton, Manchester City Stadium — more accustomed to a round ball — and of course the Olympic Stadium in London, where an oval ball has yet to be kicked.
The most emblematic of the 13 stadiums is Twickenham, in the south-west of London. Twickenham is more than a stadium: it is the holy place of English rugby. The "Home sweet home" of the Rose's side, it also houses England's Rugby Football Union (RFU). "If you just walk into Twickenham, you feel like you're part of the rugby family", says Jonny Wilkinson. A very large family, given that the stadium can hold nearly 82,000 fans. This is where the opening match (England v. Fiji on 18 September), two quarter-final matches (17 and 18 October) the semi-finals (24 and 25 October) and the final (31 October) will be held. The other temple of English sport, Wembley (90,000 fans), home to the national football team, will host two pool phase matches.
Moving 165 miles south-west of Twickenham, Sandy Park in Exeter will be the smallest stadium of RWC 2015. It has only 12,300 seats, but Jonny Wilkinson promises "a real rugby experience": "a real rugby venue, with a great pitch". And knowing that the county town of Devon is the birthplace of Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling as well as Portishead singer Beth Gibbons and Coldplay frontman Chris Martin, one can expect inspired and colourful rugby at the Tonga-Namibia match on 29 September, the Namibia-Georgia match on 7 October and Italy-Romania on 11 October—the three matches slated for Sandy Park.
In Exeter and Twickenham, Brighton and Milton Keynes, Birmingham and Leeds, rugby will be quite at home: "Rugby is coming home!" Indeed, rugby was born in Rugby, a town in the centre of England (Warwickshire), halfway between London and Manchester. Legend has it that a student at the Rugby School, William Webb Ellis, picked up the ball while playing an early version of football in 1823, "with a fine disregard for the rules of football as played in his time", as stated in an inscription on his grave, in Menton. So, a little "disregard" is good sometimes! The captain of the winning side of RWC 2015, who on 31 October will receive the William Webb Ellis Trophy, certainly won't mind the 19th century schoolboy's indifference to the rules...