While the Rugby World Cup opens at Rugby HQ Twickenham on Saturday, the All Blacks begin their campaign at the home of English football, Wembley.

Here's 12 things you need to know about Wembley.

1.

With a capacity of 90,000, it is the largest stadium in UK and second largest in Europe behind Barcelona's Camp Nou. It's home to the England national football side, as well as the FA Cup Final and Semi Finals.

2.

The All Blacks v Argentina match this weekend is expected to set a new World Cup attendance record.

Advertisement

3.

The stadium includes a partially retractable roof and a 134m high Wembley Arch - which is the world's longest unsupported roof structure. As it supports the all the weight of the north roof and 60 per cent of the southern side, he arch ensures there are no pillars in the stadium - resulting in a unobstructed view for spectators.

4.

Multiplex, the Australian contractor working on the stadium, made significant losses during the construction, which had an eight year delay and went hugely over budget. It went on to launch legal cases against its subcontractors and consultants - with one claim of 253m pounds being the largest construction claim in UK legal history.

5.

The old Wembley Stadium opened in 1923 and was demolished between 2002-03. It hosted the 1948 summer Olympics and the 1966 Football World Cup final, won by England over Germany.

6.

Besides being the spiritual home of English football, Wembley has a long association with American Football, hosting its United States Football League game in 1984. The Jacksonville Jaguars are the current NFL tenants at Wembley, hosting games in London from 2013 to 2014.

7.

The first match at the stadium wasn't played by any professional teams - it was a friendly match behind closed doors, between Multiplex and Wembley staff.

8.

Don't even think about driving to Wembley - it's described as a "Public Transport Destination" and there's very limited parking. However, it's connected to two London Underground stations, so getting there is easy enough.

9.

Containing 2,618 toilets, Wembley Stadium has more than any other venue in the world. Hopefully that means no waiting in line during World Cup games.

10.

As well as being a famous sporting venue, Wembley's also hosted a star-studded line-up of concerts. The first concert at the new stadium was George Michael in 2007 and Muse were the first band to sell out the stadium that year. Metallica, Foo Fighters and Madonna have also graced the stage, among others.

Advertisement

11

If All Blacks skipper Richie McCaw makes the field on Monday, it will be the 38th different ground he has played on in the All Blacks jersey but just the second different ground on England soil, having only played at Twickenham (seven tests).

12

The only member of the All Blacks squad to play at Wembley is Sonny Bill Williams who was part of the Kiwis Rugby League World Cup campaign in 2013 where they defeated England in the semifinals at Wembley.


- nzherald.co.nz