Rugby World Cup hailed as biggest and best yet
All Blacks make history with a littany of broken records as they go back-to-back
New Zealand’s team celebrates with the Webb Ellis trophy after winning the Rugby World Cup Final against Australia at Twickenham. Photograph: Stefan Wermuth/Reuters
The All Blacks’ 34-17 final victory over Australia on Saturday to secure a record third world title was watched by an estimated 120 million people across the globe.
World Rugby chairman Bernard Lapasset said the six-week tournament was the “best-attended, most-watched, most socially-engaged, most commercially-successful Rugby World Cup”.
Organisers said over 2.47 million tickets were sold across all 48 matches with over one million fans visiting fanzones during the tournament in England and Wales.
Over €350 million was generated in ticket revenues, delivering an €112 million surplus to World Rugby and a €21 million surplus to the English RFU “to be invested into the development of the game”.
“Rugby World Cup 2015 will be remembered as the biggest tournament to date, but I also believe that it will be remembered as the best,” Lapasset said.
“But this special Rugby World Cup has been about much more than numbers, it has been about the amazing atmosphere in full and vibrant stadia, the excitement around the host nation and in Cardiff, the unforgettable moments played out by the world’s best players and the friendships that have been created along the way -- the very best of our sport has been on display.”
The tournament began with a bang on the opening weekend last month with Japan’s shock victory over South Africa and although the Brave Blossoms ultimately failed to reach the knockout stage despite three pool wins, their game against Samoa was watched by a record national TV audience of 25 million.
England’s failure to qualify from their pool was a huge letdown for an expectant nation hoping for a repeat of their 2003 triumph.
Stuart Lancaster’s side lost to Wales and Australia in the so-called ‘pool of death’, their defeat by the Welsh watched by 11.6 million viewers on ITV -- the largest Rugby audience in the United Kingdom since the 2007 Final.
All Blacks - record breakers
*New Zealand became the first team to retain the Webb Ellis Cup with their 34-17 victory over Australia at Twickenham on Saturday.
* The All Blacks became the first nation to be crowned rugby world champions on three separate occasions.
* It was the All Blacks’ first World Cup triumph outside of New Zealand.
* New Zealand have now won a record 14 successive World Cup games. They last lost in the 2007 quarter-finals.
* New Zealand captain Richie McCaw has equalled former England prop Jason Leonard’s record of 22 World Cup appearances.
* McCaw is the first player in rugby union history to captain two World Cup-winning teams.
* Dan Carter’s 19 points against Australia were the most scored by an All Black in a World Cup final, surpassing Grant Fox’s 17 points against France 28 years ago.
* Savea’s team-mate and fellow wing Nehe Milner-Skudder was second-top try scorer at World Cup 2015 on six touchdowns.