Six Nations Venue Guide
We take a look at the venues which host this year's Six Nations matches.
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TWICKENHAM - LONDON
The world's largest rugby-dedicated venue with a capacity of 82,000 is topped only by Wembley on UK shores.
Opened in 1907, it is now a rousing cathedral, especially so when England are on form and winning - witness the atmosphere as New Zealand were slayed in December 2012 for example - but long spells of quiet can often dampen the occasion.
Those hushed periods did not do Stuart Lancaster's side too much harm last year, however, with only the All Blacks escaping the Cabbage Patch with a victory.
However, accessing the stadium can be hellish as the roads become gridlocked while the all-too-infrequent rail service can see trains become horribly overcrowded.
STADE DE FRANCE - PARIS
The 81,338-seater national stadium was built for the 1998 football World Cup and remains an impressive sight with its space-age roof set amid the unwelcoming district of Saint-Denis, where venturing out after dark is at the visiting supporters' own risk.
Seasoned Les Bleus supporters still yearn for the more gladiatorial Parc des Princes, the previous home of French rugby, not least because of some poor results at the Stade de France.
Wales, New Zealand and South Africa all triumphed there during 2013 but coach Phillipe Saint-Andre will hope for better after ending last year's championships with their only win against Scotland.
AVIVA STADIUM - DUBLIN
The redeveloped Landsowne Road is as impressive a sight as its £340million price tag would suggest, yet for much of their time there, the Irish could hardly buy a win.
Just seven victories in 18 attempts since returning from Croke Park is poor value for the hosts considering the comforts provided by a superb, modern venue.
For the fan, however, the, 51,700 arena is among the finest in the world and access is relatively painless partly thanks to the battalions of available taxis. The atmosphere can be eerily silent, however, and contrast markedly with the noise generated at Irish provincial games.
STADIO OLIMPICO - ROME
Italian rugby has a new home while work continues on the Stadio Flaminio, with the 82,000 capacity Stadio Olimpico proving a superb addition to the list of Six Nations stadia.
More traditionally known as the home of Lazio and Roma football clubs, it is one of Italy's most cherished sporting venues and was home to the 1960 Rome Olympics.
A running track surrounds the pitch and this affects the atmosphere but it has not affected the Azzurri too badly having notched up wins over Scotland, France and Ireland since setting up base there back in 2012.
MURRAYFIELD - EDINBURGH
The renewed optimism created by head coach Scott Johnson's tenure has produced a welcome knock-on effect for Scottish Rugby Union coffers with the crowds flocking back to the Scotland's biggest sporting venue.
Located in the west of the Scottish capital, the superb 67,130 stadium is capable of generating some rousing atmospheres.
With plenty of watering holes near by, the spectators are always well lubricated in advance of kick-off but finding a way home is complicated by the congested local road network. The local Haymarket railway station is perhaps a better option.
MILLENNIUM STADIUM - CARDIFF
Some pundits argue the former Cardiff Arms Park is the finest rugby stadium in the world. Brilliantly designed and situated in the heart of the Welsh capital, it is a spectacular centre-piece for Welsh rugby that can take noise levels to a new dimension.
When Wales are firing, the 75,000-capacity theatre becomes an inspiring venue. Just think back to the roar generated as the Red Dragons ripped England to pieces with a 30-3 mauling as they claimed last year's Championship crown.
The only negative is the difficulty getting out of the city - by car or train - after a match.
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