TRY A RUGBY INSPIRED TRIP TO THE WORLDS TOP NATIONS
Rugby fever is set to sweep the globe as the sports biggest competition gears up for kick off. Not only do the countries on show boast the best rugby teams in the world, they are also some of the world’s best travel destinations…
Manchester is a city with sublime sporting heritage and this legacy is about to grow further as the local Etihad Stadium gears up to host England’s final pool match against Uruguay on October 10th. Catch the game or take advantage of the outstanding selection of craft ale in the nearby Northern Quarter, Machester’s trendy centre for bars, restaurants and record shops. If you prefer the round ball to the oval then spend the afternoon in ‘The National Football Museum' based at Manchester’s Urbis building.
Take a tour around the French national team’s principle home ground, Stade de France; the scene of South Africa 2007 World Cup triumph. The tour lasts around an hour, and there is also a fascinating museum. On match days, Paris’ expat pubs are lively to say the least - try the popular Frog and Princess on Rue Princesse for a traditional English boozer or Little Temple Bar for an Irish bar with a cosy feel.
Rugby-crazed Dublin is home to Ireland’s national team and popular club side Leinster. Delve into Ireland’s sporting legacy with a tour of the Aviva Stadium, home of both the rugby and football national teams. Another key sporting landmark is Croke Park, awash with history the stadium hosts the annual All-Ireland hurling and Gaelic football finals. Dublin’s pubs are jovial places to be whatever the day, but on match days there’s extra zing in the air. Try the traditional Old Stand on Exchequer Street, or lively Rody Bolands on Rathmines Road Upper.
Home to one of the Europe’s most fearsome clubs RC Toulon, the town certainly knows how to be enthusiastic about their local pastime. But there is more to this Riviera city than just rugby - the Giens Peninsula provides fantastic conditions for kitesurfing, and local waters ideal for sailing. For those looking to take in the majestic scenery and stretch their legs try the Cap Sicié peninsula, which provides stirring sea views and a backdrop of towering cliffs.
Edinburgh’s Murrayfield Stadium is the home of Scottish rugby, and when there’s a game on it feels as though the whole city is cheering for their team. Book a guided stadium tour and set foot on the famous pitch. Watch World Cup games in many of the city’s welcoming bars and pubs, such as The Three Sisters on Cowgate with large screens and beer garden, and the historic Beehive Inn in Grassmarket.
The 2007 world champions will be looking to reclaim the title this year, and you’ll not be hard pushed to find a vocal crowd gathered around a screen come match days. The Springboks play in several key cities throughout the country; makes this your travel itinerary and tour the likes of Newlands Stadium in Cape Town, Kings Park Stadium in Durban, and the famous Ellis Park Stadium (now called Emirates Airline Park) in Johannesburg where the national team won the historic final in 1995 when Nelson Mandela presented them with the trophy.
Like many other rugby nations, The Wallabies play in various stadiums across the country. Those visiting Sydney can take a tour of ANZ Stadium, there’s the Etihad Stadium in Melbourne, the Subiaco Oval in Perth and Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane. As well as taking in the world cup matches from a classic Aussie watering hole there is plenty of live sport on offer. Catch the final stages of this year’s Australian Football League (Aussie Rules), cross rugby codes for the NRL grand Final or attend Australia’s “Big Bash” T20 cricket all before the turn of the year.
New Zealand’s All Blacks are the most successful and iconic team in world rugby, and as current holders they are hot favourites to retain their title. Visit Eden Park in Auckland, home of the national team and take the behind-the-scenes stadium tour to experience some of the greatest moments in the history of Rugby Union.