Find out what makes the Rugby World Cup venue in Sapporo so special


Sapporo Dome: The amazing stadium hosting England’s first World Cup match

England kick off their Rugby World Cup campaign against Tonga on Sunday 22 September on the Japanese island of Hokkaido at Sapporo Dome – and the stadium is pretty amazing.

Sapporo Dome is hosting two World Cup matches – Australia v Fiji on Saturday 21 September and England v Tonga the following day.

Not only does the stadium look somewhat futuristic, appearing on the skyline like a spaceship, but its clever design means it is an effective multi-sport venue.

The indoor stadium is more commonly used for baseball or football, but will transform into a rugby venue for the opening weekend of Japan 2019. And the way it transforms is incredible.

Sapporo Dome

Multi purpose: Sapporo Dome in baseball mode (Getty Images)

When used for baseball, the stadium has an artificial pitch and the seats fit around a traditional baseball diamond.

For football – and in the case of the Rugby World Cup – the baseball flooring is rolled up and a grass pitch is wheeled in from outside, where it is grown under the natural elements. So it is an outdoor pitch played on indoors!

The seating structure is designed so it can move around to first allow the grass pitch to roll in and spin round, then to create a different-shaped stadium bowl so fans can get the best view for football and rugby as opposed to baseball.

The whole process takes around eight hours but you can watch a time-lapse video of Sapporo Dome transforming here…

It’s ingenious design from the Japanese and fans at the stadium for these two matches on the opening weekend should enjoy a great view of the action. The fact it’s an indoor stadium should also help generate a great atmosphere.

With no risk of rain affecting conditions, both Australia and Fiji will be looking to demonstrate the full array of their attacking skills on the Saturday while England v Tonga is sure to be a highly physical match 24 hours later.

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