Learn more about Twickenham Stadium
| Twickenham Stadium
<tr><td colspan="2" style="text-align: center;">Image:Twickenham rfu.jpg
|Location||Twickenham, Richmond upon Thames, England|
|Opened||October 2, 1909|
|Owner|| Rugby Football Union
|England national rugby union team|
Twickenham Stadium (usually known as just Twickenham) is a stadium located in the Twickenham district of the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames in London, England. It is the largest rugby stadium in the United Kingdom and has recently been enlarged to seat 82,000.
The stadium is the home of England's Rugby Football Union (RFU), and as such primarily a venue for rugby union and hosts England's home test matches, as well as the Middlesex Sevens, the Guinness Premiership final, as well as Powergen Cup and Heineken Cup matches. The stadium is considered an icon of not only England, but rugby as well.
Although the ground is usually only occupied by rugby union, it has in the past hosted a number of events, such as U2 and Rolling Stones concerts. It has also been the host of rugby league's Challenge Cup.
Twickenham is often referred to as the home of English rugby, and sometimes, the home of rugby, worldwide.<ref name="icons">Template:Cite web</ref> The stadium is owned and operated by the RFU, so Twickenham is the host of numerous rugby union fixtures year round. Most prominently it is the home of the English rugby union team, who play all their home games at the stadium (as opposed to some of the other rugby nations that may have a home stadium, but use numerous venues, England uses just Twickenham). Twickenham hosts England's Six Nations matches, as well as inbound touring teams from the Southern Hemisphere, usually every year around November.
Apart from its relationship with the national team, Twickenham is the venue for a number of other domestic and international rugby matches. It annually hosts the Middlesex Sevens, which is a domestic pre-season sevens tournament for the premiership clubs. It is also the venue for the final of the Guinness Premiership, and has hosted the Anglo-Welsh Powergen Cup final in the past. Twickenham will also host the 2006-07 Heineken Cup final. The stadium is also host to The Varsity Match between Oxford and Cambridge and the English school's Daily Mail Cup final.
Sold out Tests against the All Blacks and South Africa at Crystal Palace saw the RFU realise the benefit of owning their own ground. Committee member William Williams leads the way to purchasing a 10 and 1/4 acre market garden in Twickenham in 1907 for £5,572 12s and 6d. The first stands constructed the next year. Before the ground was bought it was actually used to grow cabbages and so Twickenham Stadium is affectionately known as the 'Cabbage Patch'. After further expenditure on roads, the first game, Harlequins v. Richmond, was played on October 2, 1909 and the first international, England v. Wales, on January 15 1910. At the time of the English-Welsh match, the stadium had a maximum capacity of 20,000 spectators. During World War I the ground was used for cattle, horse and sheep grazing. King George V unveiled a war memorial in 1921.
In 1926, the first Middlesex Sevens took place at the ground. In 1927 the firsrt Varsity Match took place at Twickenham for the first time. Before the second World War Philip Toynbee wrote that "A bomb under the West car park at Twickenham on an international day would end fascism in England for a generation". In 1959, to mark 50 years of the ground, a combined side of England and Wales beat Ireland and Scotland by 26 points to 17.
Coming into the last match of the 1988 season, against the Irish, England had lost 15 of their previous 23 matches in the Five Nations Championship. The Twickenham crowd had only seen one solitary England try in the previous two years and at half time against Ireland they were 0-3 down. During the second half the floodgates opened and England scored a remarkable six tries in a thumping 35-3 win. Three of the tries came in quick succession from Chris Oti. A group from the Benedictine school Douai started to sing a rugby club favourite, the gospel hymn Swing Low, Sweet Chariot in honour of their new hero and the whole crowd joined in.
The United Kingdom, Ireland and France shared the hosting of the 1991 Rugby World Cup. Twickenham was used during pool A England matches. Twickenham was also the host of the final in which Australia narrowly beat England, when England famously changed their style of play for the final, opting for a running-game. During the match, the English facing a 12 to three deficit, David Campese knocked forward a pass headed for Rory Underwood, despite England's argument for a penalty try, the referee awarded just a penalty. The debate over the decesion has been discussed to this day.<ref name="bbc">Template:Cite web</ref>
Some of the Welsh-hosted 1999 Rugby World Cup games were taken to Twickenham. These included three of England's pool B matches, the second round playoff where England defeated Fiji 45 points to 24, and both semi-finals, none of which England were involved in, having made their exit in the quarter-finals at the hands of South Africa. Under the reign of Clive Woodward, the stadium became known as 'Fortress Twickenham', as England enjoyed a run of 19 unbeaten home matches from October 1999, ending with defeat against Ireland in 2004. The IRB Rugby Aid Match was played on 5 March, 2005 under the auspices of the International Rugby Board (IRB) to raise money for the United Nations World Food Programme to support its work aiding victims of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. Representative sides of the Northern and Southern hemispheres played at Twickenham. The final score was Northern Hemisphere 19 – Southern Hemisphere 54.
Since the ground was bought by the RFU in 1907, it has gone through a number of redevelopments. In 1921 a stand is built above the northern terrace, with workshops placed underneath. In 1927, there was an extension to the East Stand, bringing the capacity to 12,000. The south terrace was also extended to allow 20,00 spectators. In 1932 a new West Stand was completed, providing offices for the RFU, who made the ground their home. In 1937, the Middlesex County Council approve scheme submitted by Twickenham City Council to widen Rugby Road due to it being inadequate for traffic.
In 1965, the South Terrace was closed due to structural failings. It was found to be cheaper to build a new stand as opposed to repairing the existing one, however, planning permision was refused due to objection from local residents. Permission was granted in 1978. A period of extensive rebuilding took place during the early 1980s which continued through to the mid 1990s. In 1981 the South Terrace was rebuilt as the South Stand. After being taken down in 1988, an extended North Stand was opened in 1990. After the 1992 five nations, the stadiums sees the development of the new East Stand and folloiwng that the West Stand. In 1995, the stadium was completed to accommodate 75,000 people in an all-seater environment.
Planning permission was sought in 2002 and received in December of 2004 for a new South Stand to raise capacity to 82,000, together with a hotel and conference centre, with redevelopment commencing in June 2005. The RFU's revised application to build the new south stand at £80 million was unanimously approved by Richmond Council's planning committee on December 2. As well as increasing the stadium's capacity to 82,000, the redevelopment will introduce a four-star Marriott hotel with 156 rooms and six VIP suites with views over the field, a performing arts complex, a health and leisure club, open a new rugby shop and also increase the current function space. In July of 2005 the south stand was demolished to make way for the new development. The new seating was complete by November 2006, but the roof and the facilities behind the stand remain under constuction.
 The Twickenham Streaker
The Twickenham Streaker can refer to two famous streakings that took place at the stadium, in 1974, and 1982 respectively. The first in 1974, refers to a photograph by Ian Bradshaw who captured a shot of streaker Michael O’Brien being led away by police at the ground during a Test against France. The photograph, which had a strategically placed helmet became very famous, and went onto become Life magazine's picture of the year. The description also refers to another subsequent streaking, by Erica Roe in 1982 during the half-time of a Test against Australia. Roe's streaking also became notably famous, and was listed in The Guardian's 100 most memorable sporting moments.<ref name="guardian">Template:Cite web</ref>
 Other uses
Though Twickenham usually only hosts rugby union fixtures, it has in the past been the venue for a number of other events. In 2000 the ground hosted its first game of rugby league, in which Australia defeated England in the opening game of the 2000 Rugby League World Cup. The Rugby League Challenge Cup Final has also been played at Twickenham twice and was won by St Helens on both occasions. Due to the construction delays of Wembley, a number of scheduled events at Wembley were moved to Twickenham. The Challenge Cup and the Rolling Stones' A Bigger Bang Tour concerts were taken to Twickenham. <ref name="gigs">Template:Cite web</ref> The Stones also played a show at Twickenham in August 2003 that was used as their stadium concert disc for the 2003 DVD Four Flicks.
 Museum of Rugby
The Museum of Rugby is a museum located in Twickenham Stadium. The museum covers the whole of the global game, not just English rugby. It tells the history of the sport,including William Webb Ellis and Richard Lindon , using interactive display techniques. The Museum has a rolling programme of special exhibitions which cover topical issues and offer an opportunity to display some of the obscurer items in the collection. Some unique displays include an English rugby jersey from the first ever rugby international in 1871 between England and Scotland, and (until 2005) the William Webb Ellis Cup which was obtained by England at the 2003 Rugby World Cup. Twickenham Stadium Tours are also available through the Museum and run 4 times per day (Tuesday to Saturday) and twice on Sundays. It is usually open every day of the week except for Mondays. Except match days entry is by combined ticket with the Twickenham Stadium Tour.
 See also
 Further reading
- Harris, Ed, (2005). Twickenham: The History of the Cathedral of Rugby, Sports Books, (ISBN 1-899-80729-20)
 External links
- RFU Twickenham site
- South Stand progress photographs
- Twickenham Stadium at Google Maps
- Event day car park at Nelson School
|Rugby World Cup|
Parc des Princes
|Six Nations rugby stadiums|
|England - Twickenham (London) | France - Stade de France (Saint-Denis) | Ireland - Croke Park (Dublin)|
|Italy - Stadio Flaminio (Rome) | Scotland - Murrayfield (Edinburgh) | Wales - Millennium Stadium (Cardiff)|
|London Borough of Richmond upon Thames|