Wednesday 20 September 2017

Aviva roar following Ireland's win over France tops Six Nations decibel test

Ireland fans celebrate victory at the final whistle following their 18-11 win over France
Ireland fans celebrate victory at the final whistle following their 18-11 win over France

The Millennium Stadium in Wales is the loudest of all the RBS 6 Nations venues but the Aviva Stadium has the loudest roar, a study carried out by Press Association Sport has revealed.

In a test conducted in association with Pulsar Instruments, our reporters have tracked the decibel (dB) levels at the six fixtures so far in this year's competition.

And the Millennium Stadium's average of 92.0dB was comfortably the highest of the lot, while its top reading of 100dB was beaten only by the roar at full-time of Ireland's barnstorming win over France - when the delighted Aviva crowd in Dublin hit 101.0dB.

Reporters Duncan Bech, Andy Newport and Nick Purewal were armed with sound meters from Pulsar, which has been manufacturing noise measurement equipment for 45 years, to take the LAeq reading - the total sound energy over a given period of time - at each game.

Cardiff led the way in terms of average, followed by Dublin, Twickenham, Murrayfield, Rome and Paris, while the Aviva and the Millennium stadiums were the only venues to break the 100dB mark at their loudest.

1. Millennium Stadium (Wales v England)

- LAeq summary average - 92.0dB

- Highest point LAeq recorded throughout the measurement - 100.0dB after Rhys Webb's early try

2. Aviva Stadium (Ireland v France)

- LAeq summary average - 89.8dB

- Highest point - 101.0dB at full-time

3. Twickenham (England v Italy)

- LAeq summary average - 88.4dB

-  Highest point - 91.1dB immediately after the anthems

4. Murrayfield (Scotland v Wales)

- LAeq summary average - 88.0dB

- Highest point - 96.0dB after Stuart Hogg's early try

5. Stadio Olimpico (Italy v Ireland)

- LAeq summary average - 86.1dB

- Highest point - 92.8dB after Sergio Parisse's late disallowed try

6. Stade de France (France v Scotland)

- LAeq summary average - 85.1dB

- Highest point - 90.2dB as the crowd began singing the anthem after Camille Lopez's late penalty

Pulsar's managing director Sarah Brack is a keen rugby fan and was at Twickenham to watch England take on Italy, where she outlined to Press Association Sport her thoughts on the project.

"From a sound perspective, the Six Nations has always been of massive interest to me," she said. "I was brought up in a rugby club.

"Twickenham should be much louder, there are more fans there, but it depends on the impact of the game, how many tries are scored and such.

"The decision was made to take each game from the national anthems to the finish of the game so there could be no peak prior to the event because of fireworks and pyrotechnics."

The Wales-England clash was preceded by just such a display but the stadium's retractable roof was left open in spite of home coach Warren Gatland's wishes for it to be closed, with the England team training with 'hymns and arias' being played at full volume over loudspeakers in preparation for the noise and passion in Cardiff.

Despite the open roof, the average of 92.0dB at that game was more than two decibels higher than the nearest challenger, which again was Ireland v France.

At the other end of the scale was France's low-key 15-8 home win over Scotland, which limped to 85.1dB and that only after a passionate late rendition of La Marseillaise saw the French crowd hit 90.2dB.

Twickenham in fact finished only third in the average readings with 88.4dB - even with England mascot Harry Westlake belting out the national anthem - and behind all but France-Scotland at optimum level with 91.1dB. England's opposition, Italy, and the 47-17 scoreline may have played a part.

Italy v Ireland and Scotland v Wales also scored low, perhaps a product of defeats for the home sides even if Scotland ran their opponents close.

"It's a famous saying that heads go down," Brack said when assessing the effect of a home defeat.

"You have to keep that momentum going and the home team, if things are going very well the excitement is sustained, if not so well then it can drop off a bit and become a little flat."

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