Wayne Barnes Reveals His Top Rugby Stadiums with a Unsurprising First Choice - Ruck

Wayne Barnes Reveals His Top Rugby Stadiums with a Unsurprising First Choice

Popular rugby referee Wayne Barnes has picked out the three stadiums he has refereed in that produced the best atmosphere, and surprisingly left out his beloved Twickenham Stoop.


Located in Cardiff, Wales, the Principality Stadium, originally known as the Millennium Stadium, is one of the most iconic sports venues in the world. Opened in June 1999, it boasts a seating capacity of 74,500 and is renowned for its fully retractable roof, a pioneering feature at the time of its construction.

General view of the pitch before the Summer Nations Series Rugby match between Wales and England at Principality Stadium on August 5, 2023 in Cardiff, Wales. Photo: Phil Mingo/PPAUK

The stadium is the home of Welsh rugby and has hosted numerous prestigious events, including the Rugby World Cup, the FA Cup Final, and various concerts featuring globally acclaimed artists. Its central location in Cardiff’s city center makes it easily accessible and a focal point for sports and entertainment in Wales. T

he venue was renamed the Principality Stadium in 2016 following a sponsorship deal with the Principality Building Society.

Barnes said: “With the roof closed, there is no better atmosphere.”


Suncorp Stadium, also known as Lang Park, is a premier sports and entertainment venue located in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. Originally opened in 1914 and redeveloped in 2003, it has a seating capacity of 52,500. The stadium is primarily known for hosting rugby league, rugby union, and soccer matches, and it is the home ground for the Brisbane Broncos (NRL), Queensland Reds (Super Rugby), and Brisbane Roar (A-League).

With its modern design, excellent facilities, and vibrant atmosphere, Suncorp Stadium is widely regarded as one of the best rugby league venues in the world. It has also been a venue for major concerts and cultural events, contributing significantly to Brisbane’s sporting and entertainment landscape.

Barnes said: “Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium – A stadium which is built up so it feels as if the spectators are on top of the pitch, I’ve refereed two cracking Bledisloe Cup matches there too.”

#1. Twickenham

Twickenham Stadium, often referred to simply as Twickenham, is the largest dedicated rugby union stadium in the world, located in Twickenham, southwest London, England. Opened in 1909, it has undergone several expansions and renovations, currently boasting a seating capacity of 82,000.

As the home of English rugby, Twickenham is steeped in history and tradition, regularly hosting the England national rugby team’s home matches, including the Six Nations Championship and autumn internationals.

General view of Twickenham Stadium during the Gallagher Premiership Rugby match between Harlequins and Gloucester at Twickenham, London on 30 December 2023. Photo: James Whitehead/PPAUK

It has also been the site of numerous Rugby World Cup matches, including finals. Beyond rugby, Twickenham hosts concerts and other events, leveraging its status as an iconic sports venue to attract a wide range of visitors and fans.

Barnes said: “A short stroll from home. In the 2015 RWC semi-final, I walked to the stadium from my house with the other match officials. As I crossed the 316 bridge from the Stoop with my bag over my shoulder, I looked across to the West Car Park and thought this is pretty special.”

“Oh god yes” – Wayne Barnes and Nigel Owens rank the five worst players to referee

Nigel Owens and Wayne Barnes have been revealing the toughest players they’ve had to referee during their career as high-profile match officials.

Two of the best referee’s to ever pick up an ACME Whistle, it’s interesting to see who give them the hardest time on the rugby pitch.

Nigel Owens started refereeing in 1987, after his sports teacher John Beynon suggested he take up refereeing after a poor performance in a school game.

#1. Richie McCaw

BARNES SAID: “Richie always had the knack of asking the right question at the right time, sometimes it felt like I was losing a little bit of control. Contrary to popular belief, he didn’t talk a lot on the field. He knew the law book inside out and so when he asked a question, he often had a point.”

OWENS SAID: “If anybody had to pick the greatest player in history, it would surely be a difficult choice between him and Gareth Edwards.”