Please take your seat... here are the Rugby World Cup stadiums
Grab a hot-dog, collect your tickets and come with us on a tour of New Zealand’s tournament grounds.

GRAB A HOT DOG, collect you tickets and come with us on a tour of New Zealand’s tournament grounds.

Eden Park,

Auckland (Cap: 60,000)

Despite initial government plans to build a new 70,000-seater stadium in Auckland, local authorities eventually decided to proceed with the redevelopment of one of the most famous rugby stadiums in the world – Eden Park.

The area has been used for sport since the early 1900s and hosts rugby union and league in the winter and cricket during the summer. It is also home to the Blues Super Rugby team and Auckland RFU and is the country’s biggest sporting arena.

It will become the first stadium to witness two Rugby World Cup finals this Autumn, having held the inaugural final in 1987, but it’s real claim to fame is its incredible All Blacks record – New Zealand haven’t lost on the pitch since 1994 and, overall, have won over 80% of the games played on the hallowed turf.

Eden Park will be the main site for several key events during the RWC – including the opening ceremony, the opening pool game, Ireland’s game against Australia, both semi-finals, the third place play-off and the final showpiece.

The Westpac Stadium in Wellington. (Pic: ASGW via Creative Commons)

Westpac Stadium,

Wellington (Cap: 40,000)

Known as ‘The Cake Tin’ because of its shape and silver appearance, Westpac Stadium was built on reclaimed railway land in 1999 and replaced the aging Athletic Park.

The site serves as home for Super Rugby side The Hurricanes as well as the Wellington Lions (ITM Cup), but is also a regular venue for All Whites – New Zealand’s national soccer team – as well as a range of other sports and activities.

Past uses include music concerts, WWE Smackdown events and film director Peter Jackson even recorded the crowd chanting during a cricket match, effects that were later used in the Battle of Helm’s Deep scenes in his The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers movie. Ireland could play a quarter-final fixture here, should they make it that far.

The Otago stadium will host the Rugby World Cup Pool B match between England and Argentina. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)

Otago Stadium,

Dunedin (Cap: 30,000)

New Zealand’s newest and first fully-covered ground, work on Otago Stadium has only been completed in recent months. Kiwi prime minister John Key officially opened the venue in early August and it has now become the new home of the Highlanders Super Rugby side and Otago RFU in the domestic ITM Cup competition.

Located just outside Dunedin’s city centre and overlooking the region’s harbour, the stadium includes an all-weather roof, flexible seating layouts with an increased capacity for the RWC – during which it will host four games. The entire venue was built for EUR 118 million, including the purchase of land. Ireland will play their final pool game against Italy there on 2 October.

North Harbour Stadium,

Auckland (Cap: 30,000)

Always in the shadow of its city neighbour Eden Park, North Harbour Stadium was considered a contender to act as host for the 2011 RWC but is primarily a soccer venue. The pendulum eventually swung in the direction of its rival; however, the site – set on the 23-hectare North Shore Domain campus – is pencilled in as the reserve option.

Opened in 1997, the ground is owned and run by an Independent Charitable Trust whose goal is to be a sporting and cultural/entertainment facility for entire community.

Waikato Stadium,

Hamilton (Cap: 30,800)

Home to Super Rugby side The Chiefs and provincial outfit Waikato, Hamilton’s main sporting and cultural venue will host three important Pool matches – including an All Blacks fixture – during this Autumn’s World Cup.

Previously known as Rugby Park, the ground was to host one of the matches of the Springboks’ 1981 Tour – only for the fixture to be called off – and, since its redevelopment, has hosted a variety of events including soccer fixtures, paintball events, NRL and Regional/National Marching Championships.

Rotorua International Stadium,

Rotorua (Cap: 34,000)

One of two home venues for the Bay of Plenty Rugby team, the Rotorua International Stadium will play host to Ireland’s pool game against Russia in late September. The ground will hold three RWC matches in total and has one covered stand of 4,000 seats leaving supporters from several nations on the lookout for dry weather over the coming weeks.

Past uses include concerts, the 3rd/4th play-off from the 1987 Rugby World Cup, British and Irish Lions Tour dates and rugby league Test matches involving the national side.

Yarrow Stadium,

New Plymouth (Cap: 26,000)

Once named the third best rugby stadium in the world by New Zealand Rugby World magazine, Yarrow Stadium is an international-standard sports and entertainment arena on the west side of North Island.

The main tenants are the Taranaki representative side, which plays in the ITM Cup, but the ground also hosts occasional fixtures for the Hurricanes Super Rugby outfit. Ireland play the US there on September 11th and Eddie O’Sullivan’s men will stay in the area and face Russia at the same venue several days later.

Trafalgar Park,

Nelson (Cap: 20,000)

Upgraded ahead of the tournament, Trafalgar Park will play host to three RWC fixtures over the coming weeks – including Italy’s clash with the US. It is one of the home venues for NPC side Tasman and also held two Crusaders Super Rugby fixtures earlier this year following the damage suffered in Christchurch during February’s earthquake.

Rugby Park Stadium,

Invercargill (Cap: 20,000)

Located on the most southerly tip of New Zealand, Rugby Park Stadium is home to ITM Cup side Southland and, on occasion, Highlanders. Scotland will make it home during the pool stages – they face both Romania and Georgia at the ground – with the additional clash of Argentina v Romania completing the ground’s involvement in the tournament.

Okara Park,

Whangarei (Cap: 18,000)

Originally a 30,000-capacity, multi-purpose stadium, Okara Park is now mostly used for rugby union and is home to Northland. Located as far north as it’s possible to play rugby while still in New Zealand, a recent redevelopment project has seen the a new grandstand constructed. Regularly used by New Zealand Maori Rugby, several touring squads – including the British and Irish Lions – have played fixtures at the venue and Tonga will be the focus of locals’ attention as they have two pool fixtures scheduled for the city.

McLean Park,

Napier (Cap: 15,000)

Primarily a cricket venue, McLean Park isn’t going to be one of the main attractions of this Rugby World Cup. The ground has seen some redevelopment on the back of being awarded two fixtures – both involving Canada – with the new Graham Lowe Stand opened when main tenants Hawke’s Bay Magpies kicked off their Air New Zealand Cup campaign in two years ago.

Arena Manawatu,

Palmerston North (Cap: 15,000)

Home to Manawatu Rugby, the stadium will see two relatively minor RWC fixtures (Georgia v Romania and Argentina v Georgia) taking place within its boundaries over the coming weeks. Other uses include Roller Derby, table tennis tournaments and regional netball finals but the Arena has also hosted British and Irish Lions tour date and a clash between Wales and Tonya in the inaugural World Cup in 1987.