Source: RFU

England’s Six Nations Venues Next Season

  • +1

In 2023 England have three home matches.

The sequence reads: Round 1 v Scotland, Kingston Park, Newcastle; R2 v Italy, Franklin’s Gardens, Northampton, site of England greatest victory over the Black Ferns; R5 v France at Twickenham Stadium, the first time a women’s stand-alone international will be played there.

That fixture on ‘Super Saturday’ comes as a testing-ground for the RFU. They stated their hope of filling the stadium for the 2025 World Cup as part of the bidding-process for the event.

Everyone loves playing there; it’s a great honour. The French call in ‘le temple du rugby’. But its vast spaces can seem terribly empty, even when 15,000 are present. The atmosphere evident at Gloucester and Leicester would be lost. It would be present only if well over 50,000 turned up. Flashing lights and fireworks may cover up the empty seats, but…

Up North

The excellent news is that the Scotland game will take place as close to the Scottish border as reasonably possible. Regions further south have been favoured ever since the last game played at Castle Park, Doncaster against Ireland in 2020.

After all, the Red Roses come from all over the country, not least the north – current players in the RWC squad include Abbie Ward, Cath O’Donnell, Ellie Kildunne, Holly Aitchison, Morwenna Talling, Sarah Hunter, Tatyana Heard and Zoe Aldcroft. Quite a cast-list!


Mention of Twickenham raises the issue of sensible capacities at stadiums. HQ represents one extreme end of the scale (82,000). But at the other end do we simply set a 5-figure number? That is the rough calculation made by Gallagher Premiership clubs. Kingston Park currently offers 10,200, so is one of the smaller grounds, but a sensible compromise for a venue less familiar with international fixtures.

The highest attendance at a women’s test barely reaches 20,000, and in England less than 16,000. Gates are growing everywhere, but it would need a 5-fold increase to approach a full house at HQ. We can but hope.

Welford Road, Leicester set the current attendance record of 15,836 for last season’s Wales match.

A Challenge

The RFU has plenty on its plate at the moment with all the financial troubles clubs find themselves in. Let’s hope they can still find time to ensure the maximum publicity for these three matches. Who knows, they might even involve a World Cup winner! France?