- England’s defeat to South Africa was the most-watched TV moment of the year
- South Africa won the 2019 Rugby World Cup after beating England in the final
- Handre Pollard delivered a kicking masterclass for Springboks on Saturday
- Owen Farrell was also impressive from the tee, scoring all of his side’s points
England coach Eddie Jones watches South Africa lift the trophy after losing his second final
England suffered heartbreak in the Rugby World Cup final as they were beaten by South Africa
England’s loss to South Africa in the Rugby World Cup final was the most-watched TV moment of the year, with a peak audience of 12.8million.
Figures released by broadcaster ITV also revealed Saturday’s match from Yokohama, which kicked off at 9am GMT, commanded a 79 per cent share of the viewing audience at that peak.
It was the biggest audience for a rugby match since the 2007 World Cup final between the same two sides and the most-watched sports programme, on any channel, since the 2018 football World Cup.
A peak audience of 12.8m saw the final overtake hit BBC drama Line of Duty as the most-watched programme of 2019.
The average audience throughout the match, which England lost 32-12, was 8.9m, representing a 67 per cent audience share.
England were stunned by South Africa’s relentless intensity as their World Cup quest ended with a crushing defeat in the final at International Stadium Yokohama.
A tense arm wrestle delivered its critical moment in the 66th minute when Makazole Mapimpi and Lukhanyo Am combined brilliantly down the left wing for the first of the Springboks’ two tries.
England’s defence was unlocked by the speed and accuracy of a move that saw Mapimpi cross to become the first Springbok to score a try in a World Cup final, although there was also a hint of a forward pass.
And with Eddie Jones’ men forcing their attack in desperate pursuit of an unlikely comeback win, wing Cheslin Kolbe delivered the knockout punch with six minutes remaining.
The victory maintained South Africa’s 100 per cent record in finals and enabled Siya Kolisi’s team to join the famed Springboks of 1995 and 2007.