More than half of Japanese population watched final Rugby World Cup pool game at its peak


Japan v Scotland draws record TV audience

This year’s final pool match between Japan v Scotland in Yokohama was one of the great Rugby World Cup games. The Brave Blossoms not only triumphed 28-21 to reach the quarter-finals for the first time, but drew more than half the Japanese population to watch the match on terrestrial TV.

Match Report: Japan 28-21 Scotland

The average audience share for the NTV broadcast was 39.2%, but at 9.41pm – as the game reached its conclusion – it was 53.7%. That means around 60m people were watching the match at its peak.

A look at the TV viewing figures for Japan’s previous pool matches shows how much interest in the tournament has developed over the past few weeks.

For the opening match of RWC 2019 between Japan and Russia, 20m people tuned in to watch. That rose to 30m for the wins over Ireland and Samoa, with it doubling for the final decisive pool match against Scotland.

Before this year, the previous record for a Japanese TV audience watching rugby was the 25m who tuned in for Japan’s win over Samoa at the 2015 World Cup.

In the UK, the final pool match drew 4.1m viewers, giving ITV a 41% audience share. At one point 5.7m people were tuned in to the ITV broadcast!

The match came in the aftermath of Typhoon Hagibis and World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont said: “In many ways, Japan’s victory over Scotland was for a nation, not just rugby.

“It reflected the wonderful human warmth and family spirit that has characterised this Rugby World Cup. The Japanese people are the heartbeat of the tournament and have welcomed the teams and fans with open arms.”

Japan will play South Africa – the team they memorably beat during the RWC 2015 pool stages in Brighton – in the quarter-finals on Sunday in Tokyo.

Related: Rugby World Cup knockouts – who is playing who

You would expect the TV audience records to be broken again for Japan’s first-ever Rugby World Cup knockout match.

Keep track of events in Japan via our Rugby World Cup homepage.

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