Twickenham Stadium
Billy Williams' Cabbage Patch[1]
The Cabbage Patch
Aerial view of Twickenham Stadium
Location200 Whitton Road, Twickenham,
Middlesex TW2 7BA[2]
Public transitNational Rail Twickenham
OwnerRugby Football Union
Executive suites150
Capacity82,000 (rugby)[3]
75,000 (American football)
Field size125 m × 70 m
SurfaceDesso GrassMaster
Built1907; 117 years ago (1907)
Opened2 October 1909; 114 years ago (1909-10-02)
ArchitectJohn Bradley
England national rugby union team
Harlequins (Selected Matches)
Bath Rugby (2017-2019, Selected Matches)

Twickenham Stadium (/ˈtwɪkənəm/) in Twickenham, south-west London, England, is a rugby union stadium owned by the Rugby Football Union (RFU), English rugby union governing body, which has its headquarters there. The England national rugby union team plays home matches at the stadium.

It is the world's largest rugby union stadium, the second largest stadium in the United Kingdom, behind Wembley Stadium, and the fifth largest in Europe.

The Middlesex Sevens, Premiership Rugby fixtures, Anglo-Welsh Cup matches, the Varsity Match between Oxford and Cambridge universities and European Rugby Champions Cup games have been played at Twickenham Stadium. It has also been used as the venue for rugby league Challenge Cup finals and American football, as part of the NFL London Games in 2016 and 2017.

Twickenham Stadium has hosted concerts by Rihanna, Iron Maiden, Bryan Adams, Bon Jovi, Genesis, U2, Beyoncé, the Rolling Stones, the Police, Eagles, R.E.M., Eminem, Lady Gaga, Metallica and Depeche Mode.


Twickenham is often referred to as "the Home of Rugby".[4] The stadium, owned and operated by the RFU, hosts rugby union fixtures all year round. It is the home of the English rugby union team, who play nearly all their home games at the stadium. Twickenham hosts England's home Six Nations matches, as well as games against touring teams from the Southern Hemisphere, usually annually in November.

Apart from its relationship with the national team, Twickenham is the venue for a number of other domestic and international rugby union matches. It hosts the annual London leg of the World Rugby Sevens Series, the Cup (championship) final and third-place match of the annual London leg of the World Rugby Women's Sevens Series, and the domestic Middlesex Sevens competition. It is also the venue for the Premiership Rugby final as well as Harlequins' Big Game at Christmas time and an additional annual fixture hosted by Harlequins in late spring. Anglo-Welsh Cup, Heineken Cup and Champions Cup finals have been held here, and the stadium also hosts The Varsity Match between Oxford and Cambridge, the English schools' Daily Mail Cup Final and the Army Navy Match, which forms the culmination of the annual Inter-Services Competition.


Sold-out Tests against New Zealand and South Africa at Crystal Palace saw the RFU realise the benefit of owning their own ground. Committee member William Williams and treasurer William Cail[5] led the way to purchasing a 10.25 acre (4 hectare) market garden in Twickenham in 1907 for £5,500 12s 6d. The first stands were constructed the following year. Before the ground was purchased, it was used to grow, among other vegetables, cabbages, and so Twickenham Stadium is affectionately known as the Cabbage Patch. After further expenditure on roads, the first game, between Harlequins v. Richmond, was played on 2 October 1909, and the first international, England v. Wales, on 15 January 1910. At the time of the England-Wales game, 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.

Starting an Attack, painting of the England v Wales rugby union match at Twickenham in 1931

In 1926, the first Middlesex Sevens took place at the ground. In 1927 the first Varsity Match took place at Twickenham for the first time. On 19 March 1938, BBC Television broadcast the England – Scotland (Calcutta Cup) match from Twickenham, the first time that a rugby match was shown live on television.[6] 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, England had lost 15 of their previous 23 matches in the Five Nations Championship. The Twickenham crowd had only seen one England try in the previous two years, and at half-time the team were 0–3 down against Ireland. During the second half, England started playing an expansive game many had doubted they were capable of producing. A 0–3 deficit was turned into a 35–3 win, with England scoring six tries. This day also saw the origins of the adoption of the traditional spiritual "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" as a terrace song. Three of England's tries in the match were scored by Chris Oti, a black player who had made a reputation for himself that season as speedy left winger. A group of boys from the Benedictine school Douai, following a tradition at their school games, sang "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" whenever a try was scored. When Oti scored his second try, amused spectators standing close to the boys joined in, and when Oti scored his hat-trick the song was heard around the ground.[7][8] Since then "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" has been a song to sing at England home games,[9] in the same way that Fields of Athenry is sung in Dublin and Cwm Rhondda is sung in Cardiff.

The interior of Twickenham Stadium in 2012

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 host of the 1991 Rugby World Cup Final in which Australia beat England 12–6. For this game, England changed their style of play, opting for the sort of running game that had brought them victory against Ireland in the March 1988 game referred to above. During this match, with the English facing a 12–3 deficit, David Campese reached one-handed for a ball thrown to England winger, Rory Underwood. He dropped it and the ball rolled forward, gifting England a penalty that proved to be the last score of the game. Some have claimed that Campese's action should have been interpreted as a deliberate professional foul, with possible disciplinary action against the Australian player. However, on the same ground in November 1988, Campese had intercepted a similar pass and run the length of the field to score a try.[10]

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 when 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 helping victims of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. The match was between representative sides of the Northern and Southern hemispheres, with the Southern side winning 54–19.

In May 2023, during a match between Sale and Saracens, a group of Just Stop Oil protesters came onto the pitch and started to vandalise the surface. Some of the players helped security staff to remove the protestors, who were later arrested.[11]


The South Stand before redevelopment, April 2004
The South Stand during redevelopment
The South Stand after redevelopment, April 2008

Since the ground's purchase by the RFU in 1907, it has gone through a number of redevelopments. In 1921, a stand was built above the northern terrace, with workshops placed underneath. In 1927, the East Stand was extended, bringing the capacity to 12,000. The south terrace was later extended to enable crowds of 20,000. In 1932, a new West Stand was completed, providing offices for the RFU, who made the ground their home. In 1937, Middlesex County Council approved a scheme submitted by Twickenham Borough 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 than to repair the existing one; however, planning permission was refused, due to objections from local residents. Permission was eventually 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 1989, an extended North Stand was opened in 1990. Following the 1992 Five Nations, the stadium saw the development of the new East Stand and subsequently the West Stand. In 1995, the stadium redevelopment was completed, the ground now accommodating 75,000 people in an all-seater environment. The North, East and West stands were all built by Mowlem.[12] Planning permission was sought in 2002 and received in December 2004 for a new South Stand to further raise capacity, with building work commencing in June 2005. As well as increasing the stadium's capacity to 82,000, the redevelopment introduced 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, a new rugby shop and a general increase in function space. In July 2005, the old south stand was demolished to make way for the new development. The festivities that were planned to mark this were cancelled in the wake of the 7 July terror attacks in the centre of London. The new seating, which had been started by Mowlem, was completed by Carillion on 5 November 2006 in time for the England vs New Zealand game of that year's autumn internationals series, in which England lost in a near-record defeat.[12]

The East Stand redevelopment completed in 2018.

The rugby stadium continued to be developed into 2018 with the upgrading of the east stand. The new stand offers match-day hospitality as well as six floors of event spacing.[13] The east stand was over budget due to additional safety measures put in place to make the redeveloped structure capable of withstanding a bomb attack, and to make it fireproof, with work carried out on the cladding in response to the Grenfell Tower fire. Following the upgrade, the roof is now complete.[14][15]

Rugby World Cup

Twickenham Stadium has hosted Rugby World Cup Matches in 1991, 1999 and 2015, including the finals in 1991 and 2015 when England were the host nation. The Stadium also hosted semi-finals in 1999, including France's famous 43–31 victory over New Zealand. In August 2023, the stadium was confirmed as one of eight host venues for the 2025 Rugby World Cup.[16]

1991 Rugby World Cup

Stage of Tournament Team 1 Score Team 2
Pool A England 12–18 New Zealand
Pool A England 36–6 Italy
Pool A England 37–9 United States of America
Final England 6–12 Australia

1999 Rugby World Cup

Stage of Tournament Team 1 Score Team 2
Pool B England 67–7 Italy
Pool B England 16–30 New Zealand
Pool B England 101–10 Tonga
Quarter Final Play Off England 45–24 Fiji
Semi Final Australia 27–21 South Africa
Semi Final France 43–31 New Zealand

2015 Rugby World Cup

Stage of Tournament Team 1 Score Team 2
Pool A England 35–11 Fiji
Pool A England 25–28 Wales
Pool A England 13–33 Australia
Pool A Australia 15–6 Wales
Pool D France 32–10 Italy
Quarter Final South Africa 23–19 Wales
Quarter Final Australia 35–34 Scotland
Semi Final South Africa 18–20 New Zealand
Semi Final Argentina 15–29 Australia
Final New Zealand 34–17 Australia

2025 Rugby World Cup

The stadium will be one of eight host venues for the 2025 Rugby World Cup.[16]

Other uses

An Iron Maiden concert in 2008

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, in 2001 and 2006, 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.[17] The Stones also played two shows at Twickenham in August and September 2003, the first of which was used as their stadium concert disc for the 2003 DVD Four Flicks. During 2007 Genesis played at Twickenham during their reunion tour. The Police played at the stadium in September 2007 and Rod Stewart in June. The usual capacity for concerts is anything up to 50,000, as opposed to the 82,000 for rugby.[18]

R.E.M. performed at Twickenham in August 2008, while New Jersey rockers Bon Jovi played two gigs at the stadium in June 2008 as part of their Lost Highway Tour, and Iron Maiden played there as part of their Somewhere Back in Time World Tour on 5 July 2008, along with a full supporting bill which included Avenged Sevenfold, Within Temptation and Lauren Harris.

Lady Gaga performed two sold-out shows at the stadium during her Born This Way Ball Tour on the 8th and 9 September 2012 with 101,250 people attending for both shows. The first date broke a record for The Fastest Selling-out Stadium Show in UK history when the 50,625 tickets for the first show sold out in 50 seconds.

Rihanna performed two shows at the stadium during her Diamonds World Tour on 15 and 16 June 2013 for 95,971 people for both nights.

Since the mid-1950s it has also hosted the Jehovah's Witnesses annual convention for the London area. Usually up to 25,000 attend to hear Bible talks.

The TV motoring show Top Gear used the pitch for a match of rugby, played using Kia cars. This was played prior to resurfacing.[19]


Date Performer(s) Opening act(s) Tour/Event Attendance Notes
24 Aug 2003 The Rolling Stones Licks Tour
20 Sept 2003
18 June 2005 U2 Doves, Idlewild, Athlete, Ash Vertigo Tour 110,796
19 June 2005
17 June 2006 Eagles Farewell 1 Tour
20 Aug 2006 The Rolling Stones Feeder A Bigger Bang 100,540
22 Aug 2006 The Charlatans
30 June 2007 Rod Stewart Greatest Hits
8 July 2007 Genesis Turn It On Again: The Tour 54,279
27 June 2008 Bon Jovi Biffy Clyro Lost Highway Tour 92,852
28 June 2008 The Feeling
5 July 2008 Iron Maiden Avenged Sevenfold, Within Temptation, Lauren Harris Somewhere Back in Time World Tour 55,000
30 Aug 2008 R.E.M. Accelerate Tour
8 Sept 2007 The Police Maxïmo Park, Fiction Plane The Police Reunion Tour 104,417
9 Sept 2007
12 Sept 2010 Various Artists Robbie Williams, Alexandra Burke, Bruce Forsyth, Enrique Iglesias,

Jack Dee, James Blunt, Jason Manford, John Bishop, Katherine Jenkins,
Kevin Bridges, Michael McIntyre, Peter Kay, Pixie Lott, Plan B,
Rhod Gilbert, Roger Daltrey, Spelbound, The Saturdays, The Wanted &
Tom Jones

Help For Heroes Concert
8 Sept 2012 Lady Gaga The Darkness, Lady Starlight Born This Way Ball 101,250
9 Sept 2012
1 June 2013 Beyoncé The Mrs. Carter Show World Tour 45,060
15 June 2013 Rihanna David Guetta, GTA Diamonds World Tour 95,971
16 June 2013
8 July 2017 U2 Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds The Joshua Tree Tour 2017 108,894
9 July 2017
19 June 2018 The Rolling Stones James Bay No Filter Tour 55,000
14 July 2018 Eminem 2 Chainz, Royce 5'9" & Boogie Revival Tour
15 July 2018 Prophets of Rage, Royce 5'9" & Boogie
20 June 2019 Metallica Ghost
WorldWired Tour 51,819
17 June 2023 Depeche Mode Young Fathers Memento Mori World Tour 52,662

American football

Main article: NFL International Series

It was announced on 3 November 2015 that the RFU and America's National Football League had agreed a three-year deal to host at least three NFL London Games. The deal began in October 2016 and gave the opportunity to host an additional two games over the three-year period of the deal.[20]

On 23 October 2016, the Los Angeles Rams hosted the New York Giants at Twickenham Stadium. This was the second of three London Games in 2016, with the others being played at Wembley.[21] The game was televised live in the UK on BBC Two.

The final two games of the agreement were played in 2017, with matchups announced on 13 December 2016.[22]

List of NFL London Games at Twickenham Stadium
Year Date UK Broadcaster Designated Home Score Designated Away Attendance
2016 23 October BBC[23] United States Los Angeles Rams 10–17 United States New York Giants 74,121
2017 22 October Sky Sports United States Los Angeles Rams 33–0 United States Arizona Cardinals 73,736[24]
29 October BBC United States Cleveland Browns 16–33 United States Minnesota Vikings 74,237
Twickenham Stadium (centre) and Stoop Stadium (top right) from the north in August 2015

World Rugby Museum

The World Rugby Museum is a museum located in Twickenham Stadium. The museum covers the whole of the global game, not just English rugby union. 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 union jersey from the first ever rugby union 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 four times per day (Tuesday to Saturday) and twice on Sundays. It is usually open every day of the week except for Mondays and on match days, when a special-priced entry is available for match ticket holders only.

See also


  1. ^ "The Rugby ground : The Twickenham Museum". Archived from the original on 22 June 2011. Retrieved 15 April 2010.
  2. ^ "Rugby Football Union – Contact us". England Rugby. Retrieved 23 January 2020.
  3. ^ "Twickenham Stadium". England Rugby. Retrieved 7 January 2014.
  4. ^ "Home of Rugby to host cycling charity challenge". RFU press office. 8 September 2006. Archived from the original on 2 February 2007.
  5. ^ "Cail, William". Renaissance London. Archived from the original on 4 November 2013. Retrieved 24 January 2020.
  6. ^ "TELEVISION – Monday, March 14 to Saturday, March 19" (PDF). Radio Times. 11 March 1938. Retrieved 21 February 2016.
  7. ^ The Observer (5 February 2006). "Blood, mud and aftershave". The Guardian. O is for Oti
  8. ^ "The story behind "Swing Low Sweet Chariot" and how it became a rugby anthem". Retrieved 8 October 2007.
  9. ^ Geoghegan, Tom (19 October 2007). "All you need to know about rugby: Rugby songs and jokes". BBC News Magazine.
  10. ^ "1991: Wallabies pip England". BBC Sport. 24 September 2003. Retrieved 19 August 2006.
  11. ^ Badshah, Nadeem (27 May 2023). "Just Stop Oil protesters invade pitch and stop play at Twickenham rugby final". The Guardian.
  12. ^ a b "Steel conversion for Twickenham". New Steel Construction. 1 September 2006. Retrieved 20 January 2018.
  13. ^ "TWICKENHAM PREPARES TO UNVEIL NEW EAST STAND TO THE INDUSTRY". 16 November 2018. Retrieved 16 November 2018.
  14. ^ "TWICKENHAM REDEVELOPMENT FACING COST INCREASES". 28 February 2018. Retrieved 28 February 2018.
  15. ^ "New East Stand at Twickenham Stadium opens: A look at six floors of hospitality". 9 November 2018. Retrieved 9 November 2018.
  16. ^ a b "Rugby World Cup 2025: Eight host venues named for tournament in England". BBC Sport. 21 August 2023. Retrieved 22 August 2023.
  17. ^ "Stadium delay hits Wembley gigs". BBC. 31 March 2006. Retrieved 24 September 2006.
  18. ^ "RFU apply for two additional concerts at Twickenham Stadium in 2007". The Twickenham Rugby Stadium. Archived from the original on 25 June 2008. Retrieved 21 March 2007.
  19. ^ "Six Nations 2013: Top Gear team play car rugby". BBC Sport. BBC. Retrieved 18 February 2013.
  20. ^ "NFL action at Twickenham". England Rugby. Archived from the original on 7 November 2015.
  21. ^ "NFL Announces 2016 International Series Games in London". NFL UK. National Football League. Archived from the original on 26 November 2015.
  22. ^ "2017 London games: NFL announces which teams will be playing". NFL. Retrieved 13 December 2016.
  23. ^ "New York Giants vs Los Angeles Rams 10/23/16". NFL. National Football League. Retrieved 16 April 2016.
  24. ^ Doyle, Tom (22 October 2017). "NFL London 2017: Los Angeles Rams crush Arizona Cardinals 33–0". Evening Standard. Retrieved 22 October 2017.

Further reading