Compelling Rugby World Cup action closing divides and opening minds

Rugby World Cup 2021 is reaching new heights with fans voting on their feet and online in record numbers as the stars of the game excite, captivate and inspire.

Rugby World Cup 2021 is reaching new heights with fans voting on their feet and online in record numbers as the stars of the game excite, captivate and inspire. 

The tournament has set new Rugby World Cup attendance records, while social media has been alive with comments praising the quality and entertainment value of the action, a position that is backed up by the latest statistics released by World Rugby today.  

  • Competitive matches: Average winning margins across the pool phase have reduced from 37 points in 2017 to 26 at this tournament, while the number of matches won by less than 10 points has increased from two in 2017 to six so far 
  • Kicking success: The penalty goal kicking success rate has increased from 2017 by 18 per cent to 78 per cent accuracy 
  • Ball in play: Ball in play time is above the average men’s test match with an average of 35 minutes 30 seconds
  • Broadcast: On the opening weekend in New Zealand, the Australia v New Zealand fixture attracted an average audience of 600,000. This is five times the New Zealand audience for the RWC 2017 final (NZL v ENG, 06:45 NZL local time). France v England on match day two attracted an average audience of 1.4 million viewers combining France and the UK
  • Digital platforms: In the first match weekend alone, RWC 2021 achieved more than 50 per cent of the total activity on digital for the entire RWC 2017 (users, pageviews, video views, engagements all above 50 per cent). In addition, audiences have a stronger female presence than it was in 2017 – moving from 30 per cent of users in 2017 to almost 40 per cent.
  • Pool stage attendance: Attendances have increased significantly from RWC 2017, rising from 17,516 in Ireland to 66,367 who have attended RWC 2021 so far 

World Rugby Director of Women’s Rugby Sally Horrox said: “There is something special happening in New Zealand. Not only are we seeing these huge personalities take centre stage, new stars shine and the conversation expand beyond the sports pages, the rugby has been fantastic.  

“Diminishing winning margins, positive intent, breath-taking attacking play, quicker scrums and lineouts and fewer stoppages – it’s an attractive and compelling event that will undoubtedly broaden the appeal of the sport as a whole.  

“These inspiring women and the programmes that are being put in place to accelerate the women’s game will not simply grow female engagement, it will be a catalyst for growth of the game as a whole where every girl and boy has equal opportunity to access our sport. That time is now.” 

The tournament has been one of firsts on a number of levels, but it is also innovating in player welfare with teams participating in the largest study in sport using smart mouthguards to help understand the frequency and nature of head impacts, providing insights that will help reduce risk. 

The quarter-finals begin on Saturday at Northland Events Centre with France v Italy at 16:30 local time (GMT+13) followed by hosts New Zealand v Wales at 19:30.

Sunday’s quarter-finals will be played at Waitākere Stadium with England v Australia at 13:30 local time, followed by Canada v USA at 16:30. 

Tickets are still available starting from just NZ$5 for kids and NZ$10 for adults*. For more information and to purchase tickets go to 

*Prices applicable to cash purchases made through Ticketek agents or outlets. Online purchases may attract additional payment processing and delivery fees. 


Last updated: Oct 28, 2022, 4:19:07 AM
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