The Millennium Stadium has been declared the best rugby venue of the year over competition from around the world.

The honour was presented by the Expo Awards 2011 organisation which recognises excellence from both the professional and grassroots game.

The stadium was announced as the Rugby Venue of the Year at an award ceremony held at the Spirit of Rugby in Twickenham stadium in front of guests from around the world.

As the best rugby venue the Millennium Stadium had to prove it offered exceptional entertainment, comfort and customer service in rugby and fended off the challenge of other finalists Eden Park, which staged this year’s Rugby World Cup final, and Wembley.

The prize was presented to the WRU Group Financial Director, Steve Phillips who said:  “This is a great honour for Welsh rugby and the Millennium Stadium.

“We’re very proud of our stadium especially as nowadays we attract around a million paying visitors a year to see the games and events we stage.

“We stay ahead of the game by investing in the future and a great example of that is the £3m we invested in a stadium vision system to transform the way we engage with fans.

“The Welsh Government supported that initiative because they clearly recognise the benefits the stadium brings to Wales now and will do in the future.

“Of course the stadium boasts a closing roof, a removable pitch and a great city centre location but we also have a tremendously hard working and efficient team of people who make it work for rugby and for Wales.

“This is a prestigious award and will give us even greater incentive to continue to achieve excellence in the way the stadium is operated and developed.”

The Millennium Stadium is the home of Welsh international rugby but also staged other major games including the Heineken Cup final last year.

International soccer regularly features along with speedway, world title boxing , motorsport and an array of community events each year.

It has also played host recently to the Michael Forever tribute concert and last year held the Ryder Cup Concert to celebrate the opening of the major golf tournament in Wales.

Take That, the Rolling Stones, Madonna and Paul McCartney have all held concerts at the stadium which is now a major international music venue.

Take That held two concerts on consecutive nights last year before a record breaking 120,000 fans of the group.

The next major event at the stadium will be the Wales v Australia rugby international on December 3 between the two teams which last met in the third place play of at the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand