SYDNEY

Telstra Stadium

(Capacity: 83,500. Hosts three pool matches, two semi-finals, third/fourth play-off and final)

Formerly known as Stadium Australia, the Telstra was built for the 2000 Olympics and is the country's pre-eminent venue. Before its capacity was reduced to the current mark of a little over 80,000, the stadium in Homebush Bay hosted a world record 109,874 fans for Australia's Bledisloe Cup defeat to New Zealand in 2000. It is the focal point of the World Cup, hosting the opening ceremony, both semi-finals and the final.

Aussie Stadium

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(Capacity: 40,792. Hosts five pool matches)

Home to the Super-12 side the NSW Waratahs, Aussie Stadium was Sydney's footballing home before the construction of Stadium Australia. The 42,000-seater is located next door to the Sydney Cricket Ground. It is another spectator-friendly, multi-purpose venue, that hosted the Olympic Games football in 2000, is home to world champion rugby league side Sydney Roosters and doubles up as a venue for rock concerts.

GOSFORD

Central Coast Stadium

(Capacity: 20,119. Hosts three pool matches)

The Lions' first defeat of their 2001 tour came at the hands of an Australia A side here. Home to the National Rugby League side the Northern Eagles, before their switch back to Manly this year, the ground has a capacity of 20,000. One of the smaller arenas in the tournament, but makes up with it with a raucous atsmosphere.

WOLLONGONG

WIN Stadium

(Capacity: 20,000. Hosts two pool matches)

Known affectionately as the "Showground", it is deep in the heart of league country, as home of the NRL's St George-Illawarra Dragons, the ACT Brumbies were well-received when they played a Super 12 pre-season match here. Development at the ground, which is a stone's throw from the Tasman Sea, has been slow, but a new North Stand has expanded its capacity to 20,000.

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MELBOURNE

Telstra Dome

(Capacity: 56,347. Hosts five pool matches and two quarter-finals)

Australia have an impeccable record at this impressive arena, having christened Melbourne's newest sporting facility with victory over South Africa in the first indoor rugby union Test match. That was followed in 2001 by a series-levelling triumph over the Lions at the 56,000-seater. The dome plays host to a number of Melbourne's Aussie Rules sides and has also hosted indoor one-day international cricket. It shares the quarter-finals with Brisbane's Suncorp Stadium.

BRISBANE

Suncorp Stadium

(Capacity: 52,575. Hosts seven pool matches and two quarter-finals)

The old Lang Park, venue of bruising State of Origin rugby league matches down the years, has been redeveloped into an impressive stadium. Overwhelming demand for tickets forced the organisers to switch games scheduled for Ballymore, Queensland's spiritual home of rugby. Hosts nine fixtures, making it the busiest stadium of the tournament.

TOWNSVILLE

Dairy Farmers Stadium

(Capacity: 24,843. Hosts three pool matches)

Home ground for the North Queensland Cowboys, Dairy Farmers Stadium was built from scratch in 1995 for the side's introduction to the NRL. The stadium hosted the Lions' tour match with the Queensland President's XV in 2001. Although it boasts a capacity of over 20,000, the arena's charm is created by the traditional grass hills, below the official seating, which take up the majority of the space.

CANBERRA

Canberra Stadium

(Capacity: 24,647. Hosts four pool matches)

Although it is sadly no longer known as the magnificently-named Bruce Stadium, this 25,000-seat ground plays host to Australia's most successful Super 12 franchise, the ACT Brumbies. The rugby-mad capital public regularly pack the stands for Super 12 matches, growing in size as the stadium has expanded since it was built in 1977.

ADELAIDE

Adelaide Oval

(Capacity: 33,597. Hosts two pool matches)

Renowned as one of the world's most picturesque cricket grounds, the Adelaide Oval only hosted its first union match in June, when Australia A took on France A. Adelaide's leading footballing code is Aussie Rules, which has been played on the ground for over a century. In a bid to spread the rugby word, the South Australians have been given the enticing clash between Ireland and Argentina to savour.

PERTH

Subiaco Oval

(Capacity: 42,922. Hosts five pool matches)

The Australian Rugby Union has made a concerted effort to bring Test rugby to Perth. The locals, reared on Aussie Rules at Subiaco Oval, are in for a treat during the World Cup with England's match against South Africa. The 43,000-seater, which hosted its first rugby Test in 1998, is usually home to Aussie Rules sides the West Coast Eagles and the Fremantle Dockers. About three miles from the centre of Perth iN Subiaco, a lively suburb.

LAUNCESTON, TASMANIA

York Park

(Capacity: 19,891. Hosts one pool match)

Once a swamp and then a rubbish tip, York Park has been developed into an adaptable sporting arena, designed to expand as and when necessary. Primarily an Aussie Rules venue, it will host its first union Test match when Namibia take on Romania. The redevelopment saw new hills built round the perimeter, designed to enable temporary stands to be erected behind. Has a playing field even larger than the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

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