Try a Rugby Inspired Trip to The World's 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…
Buzzing Match Day Atmosphere
First opened in May 2010, the 51,700 capacity Aviva Stadium replaced the former home of Irish rugby and football teams of Lansdowne Road on the same site.
The modernised stadium facilities on match day may have been revamped for the present day, but the frenzied atmosphere and traditional rugby heritage of a nation forever passionate about every kick and crunching tackle still remains in droves. Lively pub atmospheres at famous drinking holes such as the throwback Old Stand on Exchequer Street, or lively Rody Bolands on Rathmines Road Upper are ideal for pre-match build up for Leinster club or Ireland rugby matches.
Away from the matchday buzz Dublin is also famous for its rugby tours, with guided tours of the Aviva Stadium and a wealth of Dublin rugby clubs part of tours which include trips to famous landmarks and days for out suitable for all age groups.
Home to one of the most fiercely competitive clubs on the continent in RC Toulonnais, Toulon is a prefect destination for die-hard rugby union fans to embrace this Côte d'Azur jewel, featuring plenty to do even away from the rugby.
Tour the home stadium of the club or enjoy a match at the Stade Mayol, where a family friendly atmosphere both in and out of the ground provides a memorable day out as part of a Côte d'Azur holiday. After the match visitors can immerse themselves in Toulon's vibrant seaside locale, where a military harbour exudes historical and cultural intrigue.
Edinburgh’s Murrayfield Stadium is the home of Scottish rugby, with Scottish fans across the world of sport famous for creating a cauldron-like atmosphere of unbridled passion and loyal support.
Whether it's savouring a fine Scotch Whiskey before the game in one of the many traditional watering holes found under the looming presence of the majestic hilltop castle, or taking in the excitable match buzz at The Three Sisters on Cowgate with large screens and beer garden, and the historic Beehive Inn in Grassmarket, they certainly know how to capture the passion of the sport in the Scottish capital.
Take a guided tour of the stadium and relive the glory days of Scottish rugby which saw the side convert a famous 13-7 win over the 'auld enemy' England to be crowned as Grand Slam champions for the third time in their history.
The French capital and city of romance is no stranger to fairytale rugby theater. The impressive Stade De France, as the fifth largest stadium in Europe and the French rugby team's principal stadium, witnessed the victorious South African World Cup campaign over England which saw a rampant second half by the Springboks see them take the trophy.
After finishing a distant fourth in this year's Six Nations Championships, France will be looking to reignite the fire at this year's World Cup, that has seen them reach the final of the competition a total of three times, only narrowly missing out to New Zealand last time round, while they have never failed to get past the play-off stage since the competition's conception back in 1987.
Tour the Stade De France as a fantastic journey through a sporting venue which has hosted a wide range of elite international competitions, or warm up for kick off at a host of bars ranging from Irish taverns, traditional English clubs and sophisticated bars for a truly continental pre and post match atmosphere.
Home of the Springboks
The 2007 world champions will be looking to regain the title this year from New Zealand.
When visiting the nation as part of a safari themed holiday or city break to Cape Town, part of your itinerary could include tours of the many famous stadiums the national rugby team play matches in their staple green and gold jerseys in a bid to appease their electric support across the country.
The 60,000 seat Ellis Park Stadium in Johannesburg is particularly significant as the setting for the World Cup victory over New Zealand in 1995, where Nelson Mandela presented the team with the famous trophy as South Africans across the nation swelled with pride.
Southern Hemisphere Giants
The Australian rugby team are similar to their South African counterparts in the sense that they don't have a designated home stadium in which to play their brand of ruthless and well drilled Southern Hemisphere rugby.
Check the test match calendar and watch the Wallabies as the third ranked team in the world while visiting the culturally attuned Sydney, where visitors can take a tour of ANZ Stadium, while there’s the Etihad Stadium in Melbourne, the Subiaco Oval in Perth and Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane.
Iconic All Blacks
The All Blacks will be looking to build on their success at the 2011 World Cup where they narrowly beat France in a tense final, eventually finishing 8-7 in their home stadium in Auckland.
New Zealand will go into this year's World Cup as the deserving favourites, having played rugby in the build up to the competition befitting of the team's tag as the greatest nation to have ever kicked the oval ball.
Visitors can tour the Eden Park stadium, showcasing some of the greatest moments in Rugby Union history, where the iconic All Blacks story is told and the legacy of the haka dance to intimidate opponents pre-match is also on display.