Lapasset hails most competitive Rugby World Cup





World Rugby Chairman Bernard Lapasset has hailed the most competitive and compelling Rugby World Cup after completion of the pool phase, with the competition gap closing at rugby’s showcase event.


After 40 incredible pool matches that delivered the biggest upset in Rugby World Cup history when Japan defeated South Africa, we have seen tightly contested games and rankings upsets. Statistics show that the average winning margin has reduced from 28 points in 2011 to 24 points, while the average gap between tier one high performance unions and the tier two high performance unions has reduced from 36 points to 30 points, the lowest of any Rugby World Cup since expansion to 20 teams in 1999.


Lapasset said: “Rugby World Cup 2015 is proving to be a magnificent and record-breaking global celebration of rugby that has reached, touched and inspired audiences in a truly incredible way.


“From full stadia, to packed fanzones and record broadcast and social media audiences, Rugby World Cup 2015 has captivated and the competitive, compelling rugby has been at the heart of the success story.”


Ball in play time has increased from Rugby World Cup 2011 to 43 per cent, while the number of tries scored has decreased from an average of 6.1 in 2011 to 5.8 per match, highlighting the great strides in defence made by performance unions over the past four years.


The action on the field has also caught the imagination of audiences around the world. A Rugby World Cup record of 25 million in Japan watched the Brave Blossoms’ victory over Samoa through NHK, while France (TF1) and the UK (ITV) have reported audiences of more than 11 million with 1.4 million watching Ireland v France on TV3 in Ireland.


More than 120 million people have viewed official Rugby World Cup 2015 video content via social media, while there was more social media traffic on the opening weekend than the entire 2011 tournament.


Lapasset added: “This is the biggest-ever celebration of rugby and it is great that so many people have joined the conversation around the world to share their excitement, experiences and content.”


England 2015 is also on track to be the best-attended Rugby World Cup ever with 97 per cent of tickets sold and record crowds the length and breadth of the host nation and across the bridge into Cardiff and with rugby fever capturing the imagination, the full and vibrant trend is set to continue into the knockout stages.


England Rugby 2015 Managing Director Stephen Brown said: “All our host cities, venues and team bases have played a phenomenal role in contributing to the success of the tournament so far. The stadiums have welcomed 1.8 million spectators while the fanzones have seen 750,000 fans pass through their doors.


“Japan’s stunning victory over South Africa in Brighton is just one example of the spectacular atmosphere of the matches up and down the country and in Cardiff and the enthusiasm of fans, which will go down in history. These venues’ passion for the game has ensured this has already been more than just a tournament, and has captured the imagination of new fans the world over.”


Attention now turns to the quarter-finals, starting on Saturday with South Africa v Wales at 16:00 at Twickenham and New Zealand v France at 20:00 at the Millennium Stadium. Then continuing on Sunday with Ireland v Argentina at 13:00 at the Millennium Stadium and Australia v Scotland at 16:00 at Twickenham.


For more information on ticketing (including the re-sale mechanism) and the official travel and hospitality programmes visit

Georgian time


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