Pumas winners on and off the pitch
November 15, 2012
Argentina's upset of Wales drew the biggest UK TV audience last weekend © PA Photos
England may have recorded the biggest win on the opening weekend of the autumn international season but it was not the biggest draw for UK-based armchair fans.
Rugby Football Union officials hopeful of engaging the nation and generating awareness and momentum ahead of the 2015 Rugby World Cup pool allocation draw next month may be warmed by an average audience of 380,200 viewers for England's seven-try 54-12 victory over Fiji with the match peaking at 535,833 viewers with an estimated 4.5-5m homes subscribed to pay-per-view broadcaster Sky Sports.
The figure was an improvement on the ratings for England's recent tour of South Africa, however, the match was trumped by the three Tests shown on free-to-air TV over the same weekend. Wales' shock 26-12 defeat to Argentina attracted an average 1,892,513 viewers to BBC1 with the match attracting a peak audience of 2,317,867.
Ireland's 16-12 defeat to South Africa that was broadcast on BBC2 later the same day drew in an average of 1,383,903 viewers and a maximum of 1,744,567.
New Zealand's dominant 51-22 victory over Scotland that was broadcast on BBC1 on Sunday attracted a similar audience with an average of 1,589,753 viewers watching the All Blacks coast to victory with that figure peaking at 2,071,100.
In contrast, England's dramatic Six Nations victory over France in March this year attracted an average audience of 4.5m to BBC1 which peaked at 6.2m.
France's 33-6 victory over Australia on Saturday night, arguably the most impressive showing by a Six Nations side, was broadcast by ESPN in the UK but crucially it did not feature a Home Nations side which was reflected in an average audience of 31,000.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
"The loudest cheer at a rugby game, away from social media gimmicks, pumping music and pyrotechnics will always be for a try." Tom Hamilton on the Twickenham atmosphere
"The only thing that will stop this England team from becoming a great team is themselves. They need to ask themselves 'what can we be?'" The Phil Vickery column
The latest Monday Maul looks at the hectic final weekend, the Lions hangover, the superb Mike Brown and the 'selfie'
"At the crux of this England team is a lack of fear, they are not afraid to throw playbooks out of the window." Tom Hamilton reports from Twickenham