Rugby on the Road: A Traveler’s Journey Through the Heart of the Sport
When we talk about one of the toughest sports in the world, Rugby is definitely on that list. The best of athletes are incredibly fun to watch and will pump you full of adrenaline.
However, rugby isn’t one of the most popular sports in the world since it is heavily concentrated in a few places. Therefore, in order to experience some of the best rugby action you’ll need to pack your bag and make a bucket list of popular rugby destinations you should visit.
Since rugby for most fans isn’t just a game, but a global passion that brings people together, traveling to a certain place makes a lot of sense.
In the past couple of years, the sport has grown in many different ways. For example, we have one of the biggest Rugby World Cups ever this year, an introduction to NFTs and fantasy games, and much more.
All of these additions are designed to make the sport more engaging and available for the wider audience. What’s better than visiting some great places infused with rugby magic, or creating your own rugby fantasy team? Especially if you like to play online games related to this sport and you have chosen some funny fantasy rugby team names to play in leagues with friends, then you will have to go watch a game between some of the most passionate teams in the world.
But if you like to travel for your passion, here are some of the best places every rugby enthusiast should visit.
Known for its deep-rooted history in rugby, Paris stands as a significant hub for rugby enthusiasts, tracing back to the late 19th century when British expatriates established the country’s initial rugby club.
Over time, the France National Rugby Team has solidified its standing as a formidable force, clinching the sport’s inaugural Olympic gold medal and more recently, securing the Six Nations Championship in 2022. To rally behind the French rugby team, acquaint yourself with their national anthem ‘La Marseillaise’ and join in the fervor.
France is eagerly preparing to host the much-anticipated 2023 Rugby World Cup. With an influx of over 1.13 million international visitors that flocked to France for this event, the rugby fever in the country is poised to endure for years to come.
Let’s get one thing straight, rugby isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you think about Spain, especially Barcelona, the city that lives for soccer.
However, rugby’s popularity in Spain is rapidly expanding, particularly in Barcelona and Catalonia. Once merely a serene setting for a low-key end-of-season celebration, it has now transformed into a legitimate destination for competitive matches against high-quality opponents in a stunning locale.
Auckland, New Zealand
New Zealand’s fervor for rugby led to its official recognition as the national sport. The national team, renowned as the All Blacks, boasts a remarkable record, having claimed the World Cup thrice, a feat shared with South Africa.
Among the distinctive and captivating facets of the All Blacks is their tradition of performing the “Haka” before matches. This ceremonial war dance from Māori tribal culture, particularly the ‘Ka Mate’ Haka, is a stirring display showcasing strength and cultural pride. Witnessing this powerful ritual before their games is a truly moving experience.
Twickenham, United Kingdom
For rugby enthusiasts unable to attend the forthcoming tournament in France, a visit to Twickenham Stadium in southwest London is an excellent alternative. Visitors can follow in the footsteps of their beloved rugby players, embarking on a legendary stadium tour and exploring the World Rugby Museum.
Boasting an impressive capacity of 82,000 spectators and a history spanning over a century, Twickenham Stadium is hailed as ‘the home of England Rugby’ and stands as the world’s largest dedicated rugby union venue.
In Dublin, watching a rugby match at an Irish pub perfectly aligns with the country’s rich rugby heritage, being a prominent member of the Six Nations league. Rugby enjoys immense popularity in Ireland, making Dublin a hotspot for fans, vibrant celebrations, and spirited chants.
Most pubs across the city broadcast matches, yet establishments like Searsons on Baggot Street and the Swan on Aungier Street stand out as havens for rugby enthusiasm. The Swan, in fact, was founded by the legendary international Irish rugby player Sean Lync.
Enjoy some pub grub, engage with the locals, and relish the game while familiarizing yourself with Irish anthems like ‘Amhrán na bhFiann’ (‘The Soldier’s Song’) and “The Fields of Athenry.”
Japanese rugby fans proved their fervor during the 2019 World Cup, hosting high-quality matches year-round within Tokyo’s club scene. The Japanese Top League teams have a penchant for recruiting retired legends of the game, such as New Zealand’s Dan Carter and Australia’s Matt Giteau, and there are multiple teams based in the capital.
The iconic Prince Chichibu Memorial Rugby Ground hosts many matches, just a short 15-minute metro ride from the bustling Shibuya Crossing – the world’s busiest intersection. For affordable post-match dining and a taste of Tokyo’s quirky side, a brief stroll to Genki Sushi offers a unique experience, where seafood dishes are delivered to customers via automated trains.
These are some of the best places every rugby enthusiast should visit. They all offer great rugby history, a lot of exciting matches, and on top of that, many rugby fans to debate with.
So, grab your backpack, collect all your necessary stuff, and let’s go on a rugby-infused adventure.