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England TV viewing figures dwarfed by rugby union

As we head over to Leeds Rhinos for the final test between England and Tonga, a lot has been made of the attendances at the first two attendances.

With a combined attendance of less than 25,000 is has been positive to see the two tests average an audience of over half a million on BBC One.

The first test had an 8.5% audience share peaking at 642,000 and the second test had an average of 642,000 and had an audience share of 9.6%.

They reached a peak of 795,000 this is to be celebrated but sadly pales in comparison to rugby union. ITV reported that 8.7 million watched the game between England and South Africa in the Rugby Union World Cup semi-final.

This is also more than the million who watched the meeting between England and Samoa in last year’s World Cup semi-final sadly.

But for anyone questioning the value of international rugby, you should take to Jack Welsby who explained the feeling of international rugby: “Everything. I think this time of year gets really exciting, not only for the grand final, but you know that England’s looming. Buzzing to be called up and can’t wait to rip it on.”

Against his former coach, that certainly adds narrative, Welsby said: “Yeah Woolfy will be over here with Konrad Hurrell and Will Hopoate, who have been with us for the last couple of years. A bit of laughing and joking in training, but it’s getting serious now and ready to rip in against them.

“I think the way we ended [he said of Saints without Woolf], I just wanted to get back on the horse as soon as possible. This gives me the opportunity to do that. I’ve not switched off and tried to keep the body moving. Now it’s coming around, it’s coming on really quick and it’s something I’ve been looking forward to all year really. I can’t wait to play on Sunday.”

He also spoke about what international rugby means: “It’s everything I think. It’s always something I’ve wanted to do. It means a lot to me to go in and play for England and pull on this jersey and sing that anthem in front of a massive crowd. I’m looking forward to it and I can’t wait.”

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