In 1999 Wales hosted the rugby World Cup, and the magnificent Millennium Stadium was built to host the final. This stadium, which stands right in the centre of Cardiff, is thought by many international players to have the most intense atmosphere of any rugby stadium, particularly when the roof is closed which traps the noise within.
The stadium was built on the site of the old National Stadium, which was usually known as Cardiff Arms Park; but that actually refers to the whole land which was given to the City of Cardiff by the 3rd Marquis of Bute (the man also responsible for renovating Cardiff castle). In giving the land to Cardiff, he stipulated that the land had to be used for “recreation purposes”. Originally the site had a rugby field to the north, and a cricket ground to the south, but when the National Stadium was built in 1969 it replaced the cricket ground.
Between the Millennium Stadium and the Taf river is a walkway, known as the Millennium walkway, and on this walkway are a series of mosaics for the countries which took part in the 1999 World Cup. These countries were
- Pool A – South Africa, Scotland, Spain, Uruguay
- Pool B – New Zealand, England, Italy, Tonga
- Pool C – France, Fiji, Canada, Namibia
- Pool D – Wales, Argentina, Samoa, Japan
- Pool E – Australia, Ireland, United States, Romania
The mosaics appear in the following order (going from north to south, which is walking towards from where the photograph of the stadium was taken
- New Zealand
- Other Nations
- South Africa
I have no idea why they are in this order, as it does not seem to correspond to the groups they are in. Does anyone know where the order comes from? The Wales mosaic is in the middle, which as hosts makes sense, but other than that I see no logic to the order.
Each mosaic is quite charming, with the flag of the country and then some images around the edges meant to represent things about that country. How many of you have walked on this walkway and not even noticed them? Below each mosaic are tiles with the names of each player in that country’s squad, but these have become worn and are quite difficult to read now.