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Rugby World Cup TV viewership makes big climb in Japan

Reuters

Nearly 20 million Japanese watched their team’s Rugby World Cup match against Scotland on Wednesday following the Brave Blossoms’ stunning 34-32 upset of South Africa in their opening game.

The Scotland match started at 10:15 p.m. Japan standard time, and 19.5 million people, around 15 percent of the population, stayed up to watch it, the television rights-holding broadcaster said.

Less than one percent of Japanese people viewed the opening match of the tournament between England and Fiji.

“These broadcast numbers from Japan are truly incredible and show the difference that can be made with a great performance by the national side,” World Rugby chief executive Brett Gosper said in a statement.

“The viewership figures in Japan have been improving anyway but the victory over the Springboks has given the game a welcome shot in the arm that comes at a perfect time as Japan prepares to host Rugby World Cup 2019.”

Japan, which lost 45-10 to the Scots, next faces Samoa on Oct. 3 in its third Pool B match.