THE GAMBLE over the expansion of Super Rugby has paid off as viewing figures in Australia are on the rise, even though rugby union is not the main sport of the country. While the third round of Super Rugby action saw most Australian teams fail to add to their points tally the Queensland Reds managed to break their spell of bad form in the Nation’s Capital and come away with four valuable points.
After failing to overcome the Brumbies in Canberra on nine previous attempts the Reds kicked their way to victory defeating the Brumbies on their home turf for the first time since the Super Rugby competition began in 1996.
An average audience of 159,000 tuned into watch the Brumbies fall at their fortress, which was an increase of almost 60% on the same local derby last year. The game also secured more viewers than any of the Super Rugby round games in 2010.
On Friday night the Waratahs were unable to claim their first New Zealand scalp of the year in Nelson against the Crusaders however, like the Reds breakthrough win, the emotional match saw an increase of almost 10% in viewer numbers compared to the same game last year with 115,000 tuning in.
The Rebels ventured across the Tasman for the first time in their Super Rugby history and were unable to back up their on-field performance from the previous week however they did continue their impressive viewer numbers, attracting an average audience of 130,000.
This was the third week in a row the Rebels have attracted an average audience of more than 100,000 and that trend will hopefully continue on Friday night when the new boys face their first South African opponent, the in-form Sharks at AAMI Park.
Friday 11th – Crusaders vs Brumbies
Friday 11th – Rebels vs Sharks
Saturday 12h – Stormers vs Highlanders
Saturday 12th – Hurricanes vs Chiefs
Saturday 12th – Force vs Blues
Sunday 13th – Cheetahs vs Lions
Bye – Bulls, Reds, Waratahs.