Munster fans have most right to be aggrieved with World Best Stadium results
Some... interesting choices in there.
We start with a rapid-fire question for you: What is your favourite rugby stadium in the world?
Good. Now picture that and think of all the elements that make it stand out for you - atmosphere, mingling with rival fans, good pubs nearby, no massive queues for beers, easy access, big screens for replays, acoustics, no massive queues for the toilet, setting, scenery, the food, no massive queues for anything.
To my mind, the Principality Stadium [formerly the Millennium Stadium], Rugby League Park in Christchurch or Thomond Park are right up at the top. Twickenham, when it is rocking, is pretty good and the Stade Marcel Michelin is almost like a religious experience.
The folks at LiveRugbyTickets wanted to get to the bottom of what exactly is the best stadium in world rugby. No mean feat, they put together what they felt were the 40 best stadiums for watching rugby at, across the globe, and analysed over 15,000 Trip Advisor reviews. They created their own index, going by:
With that criteria, they assigned marks out of 10, added then up and got what they claim to be the best 'Fan Satisfaction' results. They even expanded the search to include rugby league grounds.
Here are what they feel are the best 10 fan experience grounds in the world. Munster fans, even Ulster and Connacht fans, be warned... it's not going to be pretty.
- The Recreation Grounds ['The Rec'], Bath Rugby, England
- Welford Road, Leicester Tigers, England
- Totally Wicked Stadium [Langtree Park], St Helen's, England
- Parc Y Scarlets, Scarlets, Wales
- Sandy Park, Exeter, Wales
- Twickenham Stoop ['The Stoop'], Harlequins, England
- Allianz Park, Saracens, England
- Sixways, Worcester, England
- AAMI Park, Melbourne, Australia
- Thomond Park, Munster Rugby, Limerick
So, six of the world's top rugby grounds are in England. Good to know.
A lot of work seems to have gone into this study, but seeing Allianz Park ahead of Thomond Park, Franklin's Gardens, Stade Marcel Michelin or even Ravenhill, for that matter, is immediately jarring. It must rate highly on cleanliness, affordability and have a cracking food service, is all we're saying.
Interestingly, from the Top 40 and a Bottom 10 list, The RDS, Ravenhill and The Sportsground do not feature. The Aviva Stadium [Lansdowne Road] is there but down at No.32.
Murrayfield is No.22 on the list while Twickenham is four places below. South African and French grounds do not rate highly in the survey results.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Stadiums too.
Many of us have our favourites but they may be for personal reasons, more so than if the toilets were sparkling or if the hot dogs were warm. The real beauty of these surveys, on the other hand, is the debates and arguments they may well spark. We're right here for that.
You can check out the full list of 50 stadiums here.